Arabic SF Novel to be Published in English

[via io9, others] Ahmed Khaled Towfik‘s dystopian SF novel, Utopia, is set to appear in English for the first time, published by the Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation.

From Wikipedia:

Dr. Ahmed Khaled Towfik Farraag (commonly known as Ahmed Khaled Towfik) is an Egyptian novelist/author who is one of the very first Egyptian writers to attempt writing Horror/Science Fiction novels with all Egyptian characters and events that happen in Egypt and all around the globe. He also writes periodical articles for journals and web-based magazines. He is known to have a unique approach to writing, which seems to appeal to both Egyptian and Arab youth, making him a favorite among contemporary authors in the Middle East.

The Tanjara blog has the report:

Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing announced today that it has signed up the Arab world’s most prolific horror and science fiction writer, Ahmed Khaled Tawfiq, to publish his bestselling Arabic novel Utopia in English translation in autumn 2011. (The author has copious internet references with his surname transliterated as Tawfik; BQFP transliterates it more accurately as Taufiq).

BQFP describes Utopia as a grim futuristic account of Egyptian society in 2023 which takes readers on an adventurous journey that ventures out of the gated communities insulating the wealthy from the bleak realities of Egyptian life. “A young man and a young girl break away from the idyllic bubble of affluence they know, and delve into the harsh existence of the impoverished Egyptians that live right outside the fortified gates of their compounds. Utopia’s twists and turns will certainly leave readers in suspense until the very last page.”

Since its release in 2008, Tawfiq’s novel has enjoyed wide acclaim and was reprinted three times to fulfill the overwhelming demand of Arab readers. “With over 200 published titles, Tawfiq has perfected the art of horror and science fiction” BQFP says. It cites praise from the famed Egyptian author Alaa Al Aswany who dubs Utopia “a wonderful novel, a real addition to Arab literature.”

Tawfiq was born in 1962 in the city of Tanta, Egypt. In 1985, he graduated from Tanta University’s medical school, and later received a PhD in 1997. In January 1993, he published the first installment in his Ma Waraa Al Tabiaa series of novels titled The Vampire and The Legend of the Werewolf.

The signing up of Ahmed Khaled Tawfiq is an interesting development in the publishing of Arabic literature in English translation. Arabic fiction in various genres has been translated, but this may be the first publication in English of an Arab horror/science fiction author. An Egyptian equivalent of Stephen King?


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