During my six-week research trip to Cairo, I’ve been reading various back issues of Egypt’s weekly cultural journal Akhbar al-Adab (Literary News) at the national archives (Dar el Kotob) and the offices of Akhbar al-Adab and its parent company Akhbar al-Youm. Established in 1993 by one of Egypt’s most prominent living authors Gamal al-Ghitani, Akhbar al-Adab was Egypt’s first weekly journal to include news about current cultural events alongside literary texts, interviews with authors, and book reviews. The journal primarily focuses on culture in Egypt, but it also covers authors and events of interest from around the Arab world, and as a result, its readership similarly extends from Morocco to the Gulf. Ghitani remained at the helm until the revolution of 2011, when the journal underwent a number of significant changes in leadership. It finally settled back down in 2013, with Tarek al-Taher taking up the position of editor-in-chief in 2014.

Though I’ve long made a habit of reading Akhbar al-Adab when in Egypt, for this round of dissertation research I’ve been focusing on the first ten years of the journal. In particular I’ve been seeking out writings by and about a new “generation” of authors that emerged in the 1990s, as many of them published some of their first short stories and poems on the pages of Akhbar al-Adab. In the picture above, I am re-reading a piece entitled “Mirror 202” by Egyptian author Mustafa Zikri. Though only a brief excerpt, the piece that appeared in the December 10, 2000, issue was later published as part of Zikri’s longer, novelesque book by the same name: Mirror 202, published with Dar Merit in 2003.

Unfortunately, previous issues of Akhbar al-Adab are hard to track down outside of Egypt, but the journal does offer articles from its current issue on its website.

–Nancy Linthicum, 2014-15 Marc and Constance Jacobson Graduate Student Fellow, Near Eastern studies; 6/5/2015