Alaa Al Aswany is WriterDoc
Aswany attended Le Lycée Français in Cairo and received a bachelor’s degree in dental and oral medicine at Cairo University in 1980. He went on to pursue a master’s degree in dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1985. He speaks Arabic, English, French and Spanish. He studied Spanish literature in Madrid.
He wrote a weekly literary critique entitled “parenthetic phrase” in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Sha’ab, and then became responsible for the culture page in the same newspaper. He wrote a monthly political article in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Arabi Al-Nasseri and a weekly article in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Dustour. Then, he wrote a weekly article in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk. Currently, he writes a weekly article in Al-Masry Al-Youm on Tuesdays. His articles have been published in leading international newspapers such as The New York Times, Le Monde, El Pais, The Guardian, The Independent and others.
His second novel, The Yacoubian Building, an ironic depiction of modern Egyptian society, has been widely read in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. His literary works have been translated into 31 languages: English, Greek, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Chinese Simplified, Dutch, Turkish, Malay, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Armenian, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, Polish, Portuguese, Icelandic, French, Slovenian, Galician, Spanish, Estonian, Italian, Romanian, Russian, Korean, Swedish, German and Slovak. In 2006, The Yacoubian Building was adapted into “the biggest budget movie ever produced in Egypt”. The movie was screened at international film festivals and was a huge hit in Egypt. However, Al-Aswany was banned from attending the premiere. The Yacoubian Building is one of a few movies that addresses social taboos and widespread governmental corruption, such as the rigging of elections. In fact, many intellectuals believe that this work played a crucial role in triggering revolutionary sentiments among the Egyptian people. Alaa Al-Aswany claims that during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, many protesters approached him and said “We are here because of what you wrote”. In 2007, The Yacoubian Building was made into a television series of the same name.