Small publishing houses dominate annual Egyptian book fair in 2016

Rana Khaled
6 Min Read
‘’Book Fair ‘’ novel by Toya publishing house. (Public Domain)

Dar Al-Shorouk, Noon, Diwan, and the Egyptian Lebanese house were at the top of the publishing houses, and will participate with a large numbers of books in 2016. However, smaller houses, including Elmasry, El-Rewaq, Ghorab, Toya, Bait Al-Yasmine, and Dar Al Olom, are expected to fiercely challenge and prove their existence in the Egyptian book market.

In Halls 2 and 3 of the Cairo International Book Fair, Elmasry house for publishing and distribution will present a variety of books and novels. They will have “Fodool Al Qetta” (A Cat’s Curiosity) by well-know blogger and script writer Ghada Abdel Aal, which tackles women’s freedom in society from a different perspective.

‘’Reasonable reasons for killing’’ Short stories collection by Bait Al Yasmine publishing house.  (Photo Public Domain)
‘’Reasonable reasons for killing’’ Short stories collection by Bait Al Yasmine publishing house.
(Photo Public Domain)

Meanwhile, Ahmed Medhat’s tells his stories of love and struggle in his new novel “Baskalia”. Leading journalist Gehan Al-Gharabawy will reveal the secrets of Egyptians’ messages in her new book “The Red Box”.

“A Frame for a Wedding Photo” is a short story collection written by Sherif Hussein, which will also be released during the book fair. Elmasry house will provide two anthologies of poems, one by young poet Ahmed Osama called “Al-Fhres” (The Index) and another by Lebanese poet Sonya Al-Hadad entitled “Passion and Longing”.

Moreover, Al-Rewaq house will offer a large collection of horror, thriller, and social novels. Wael Radad will contribute with his novel “Al-Malga’” (The Shelter) about three secret agents on a secret mission, in which they must confront the ghosts of their pasts.  Mostafa Ebied released his novel “Al Basas” (The Watcher) that draws major similarities between present and past.

“Mute Devils” by Mahmoud Hussein tackles the philosophical idea of finding truth among humans, “who are mute devils” in his point of view. “Ela An Nansa” (Until We Forget) by Dina Hashem discusses the feelings of isolation, depression, and alienation when a father dies and a lover lets you down. Mai Ashraf Hamdy raised questions about Pandora’s box and the evil it came up with in her new novel “Khozamy”.

Historical novels also received a lot of attention from publishing houses. Ahmed Fathy Soliman published his novel “Pharaohs’ Country”, shedding light on the political and social changes and challenges Egypt witnessed since the French campaign until the end of former Egyptian President Anwar Al-Sadat’s regime.

Walid Fekry published his book “Dam Al-Mamaleek” (The Mamlukes’ Blood) that retells the bloody ending of the Mamluke era in Egypt. The house also intends to publish one collection of colloquial poems called “Qabl Al-Nafas Al-Akheer” (Before the Last Breath) by the young poet Mahmoud Mostafa.

‘’Before the last breath’’ slang poetry by El Rewaq publisng house. (Photo Public Domain)
‘’Before the last breath’’ slang poetry by El Rewaq publisng house.
(Photo Public Domain)

Dar Al-Olom publishing house paid more attention to introducing young poets to the Egyptian literary market by publishing three of their main collections;  “Master Scene” by Mohammed Sobhy, “Dibdoshka” by Mahmoud Radwan, and “Gawaz Slonat” by Mohammed Abdel Aziz. They also released two novels, “Morira” by Sara Fathy and “Phantom” by Menna Ramadan, which will also be distributed at the book fair.

Toya publishing house will release various novels, including “Stay Alive” by Ibrahim Ahmed Eissa, “The Field of Dreams” by Mostafa Youssef, “The Book Fair” by Abdel Rahman Gawish,  and “The Thinking Experience” by Kerolos Bahgat.

By aiming to attract a larger number of readers to translated novels, Bait Al-Yasmine publishing house will offer a collection of novels for low prices at the book fair. “Esabet Malaeb” by Ahmed Al-Sawy, “Diaries of an American Slave” by translator Ibrahim Abdel Mageed, “Mozakerat Arbagy” by Soliman Naguib, and “Tabaqat El-Moatazela” by Ahmed ebn Yahia ebn El-Mortady will be sold for EGP 80 during the fair.

The house will also release the social novel “Al-Faleh” by author Hazem Hamed El-Shazly and “August” by Osama El Shazly. Nabil Salem will dig deeper into the spirit of the Egyptian public by revealing people’s pains, struggles, dreams, and sufferings in his short story collection “Asbab Qad Tabdo Wageha Lel Qatl” (Reasonable Reasons to Kill).

Ghorab is also among the newly established houses that will participate with a large number of literary works in the book fair. Sherif Shawky has two different novels; the romance novel “Our Sole Love” will take the readers on an interesting journey to discover the real meaning of love, obsession, and sacrifice. Meanwhile, his crime novel “A Fox’s Night” mixes fantasy and thriller. Hossam Nader will also release his fantasy novel “Abadon’s Anger”.

Although these publishing houses can be considered relatively new to the wide audience of readers, they struggle to introduce themselves to the book market and shed lights on the healthy phenomenon of competition that benefits the literary landscape in Egypt.

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