Ahdaf Soueif

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Soueif in 2009

Ahdaf Soueif (March 23, 1950) is an Egyptian novelist and political and cultural commentator.


  • Maybe not a hydra because that’s really, really nasty. I think there was almost a false head: we ripped open the packaging and now we’re faced with the real thing that’s there in the box…
  • …A work of fiction lives by empathy – the extending of my self into another's, the willingness to imagine myself in someone else's shoes. This itself is a political act: empathy is at the heart of much revolutionary action…
  • …In Egypt, in the decade of slow, simmering discontent before the revolution, novelists produced texts of critique, of dystopia, of nightmare. Now, we all seem to have given up – for the moment – on fiction.
  • …Most people are content to live their lives within prescribed and personal boundaries. But one of the points of artists surely is that they live outside their skin. That they're connected. That they hurt with the hurt of their fellow humans. How, then, can they disengage? How can you – if your task, if your gift, is narrative – absent yourself from the great narrative of the world?...

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