Alaa el-Aswany is an Egyptian writer and a founding member of the political movement Kefaya. Trained as a dentist in Egypt and Chicago, el-Aswany's novels include The Yacoubian Building and Chicago.
Anna Metcalfe of the Financial Times put a few questions to the author, including:
Who are your literary heroes?Read the full Q & A.
For me, Dostoyevsky is the best novelist in the history of literature.
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Who would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party?
Gabriel García Márquez.
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What was the first novel you read?
The first in Arabic was by Naguib Mahfouz, the Nobel Prize-winner. In French it was a simplified Labrière called Les Caractères.