CLOSED, NEW EXHIBITION SEASON BEGINS OCT 5th

About

An ongoing series in partnership with host and African Book Club co-Founder Faith Adiele. October's book selection is If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga.

How to participate: Get a copy of the book, read it in advance of the meeting, and then discuss the book with a group of people interested in reading African Literature online via zoom on Sunday October 23rd at 5pm (PDT). After you register you will receive information to join via zoom.

You can view a list of all the books previously read and discussed in African Book Club, and if you order through bookshop, MoAD will receive a percentage of the sale: https://bookshop.org/lists/african-book-club

About the Book

In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, an Egyptian American woman and a man from the village of Shobrakheit meet at a café in Cairo. He was a photographer of the revolution, but now finds himself unemployed and addicted to cocaine, living in a rooftop shack. She is a nostalgic daughter of immigrants “returning” to a country she’s never been to before, teaching English and living in a light-filled flat with balconies on all sides. They fall in love and he moves in. But soon their desire—for one another, for the selves they want to become through the other—takes a violent turn that neither of them expected.

A dark romance exposing the gaps in American identity politics, especially when exported overseas, If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English is at once ravishing and wry, scathing and tender. Told in alternating perspectives, Noor Naga’s experimental debut examines the ethics of fetishizing the homeland and punishing the beloved . . . and vice versa. In our globalized twenty-first-century world, what are the new faces (and races) of empire? When the revolution fails, how long can someone survive the disappointment? Who suffers and, more crucially, who gets to tell about it?

About the Author

Noor Naga is an Alexandrian writer who was born in Philadelphia, raised in Dubai, studied in Toronto, and now lives in Cairo. Her verse-novel Washes, Prays, which won the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and an Arab American Book Award, was published by McClelland & Stewart in 2020. Her debut novel If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English won the Graywolf Press Africa Prize and was published in April 2022 from Graywolf Press. She is also a recipient of the Bronwen Wallace Award, the RBC/PEN Canada Award, and the Disquiet Fiction Prize, and her work has been published in Granta, POETRY, The Walrus, The Common, and more. She teaches at the American University in Cairo.

Hosted by Faith Adiele, Author, Professor & Co-Founder of African Book Club

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