Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Egypt's banned graphic novel to be published in English -- whispers of a new, open society?

An Egyptian cartoonist who was arrested and had his graphic novel banned under Hosni Mubarak's regime is to be published in English.

Magdy El Shafee wrote the graphic novel "Metro" in 2008. It was banned in his home country and El Shafee was convicted of offending public decency after a lengthy trial.

A translation of "Metro" will be published across the English-speaking world next year. It has also been published in Italian, and some Arabic copies are available in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

After the revolution that ousted Mubarak, El Shafee is hoping his novel will once again be available in Egypt.

"I'm sorry that my novel is available in other countries but not available to my own people," he said.

El Shafee has appealed to the new Ministry of Culture, but says that because his book was banned by court order, the courts will have to be consulted.

He said: "I'm waiting to hear if the Minister of Culture will allow it to be published again. They will have to consult with the courts. I'm hoping there may be some kind of apology." (read more)