Arabic Literature (in English)

Egyptian novelist Youssef Ziedan made a widely shared statement on Facebook yesterday: He will suspend “any cultural action or interaction in Egypt and the Arab world.”

220px-Youssef_ZiedanThis announcement came on the heels of a different announcement: Embattled Biblioteca Alexandrina director Ismail Serageldin was appointed as a special consultant to Egypt’s culture ministry.

As the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF)-winning novelist wrote in his statement, it is well-known that he and Serageldin have disagreed over the path of the Biblioteca, and that, as a result, Ziedan resigned from his position as director of the Manuscript Center and Museum two years before.

Ziedan further referred to the legal case pending against Serageldin, who has been on trial for three years on charges of squandering public monies. Despite these charges, Serageldin has continued to serve as the library’s director, a position he’s held since its opening in 2002.

Serageldin’s treatment stands in stark contrast to that of one of his former employees, the…

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