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Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller

Nadia Wassef

$32.99

Paperback

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Corsair
01 November 2021
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The streets of Cairo make strange music. The echoing calls to prayer; the raging insults hurled between drivers; the steady crescendo of horns honking; the shouts of street vendors; the television sets and radios blaring from every sidewalk. Nadia Wassef knows this song by heart.

In 2002, with her sister, Hind, and their friend, Nihal, she founded Diwan, a fiercely independent bookstore. They were three young women with no business degrees, no formal training, and nothing to lose. At the time, nothing like Diwan existed in Egypt. Culture was languishing under government mismanagement, and books were considered a luxury, not a necessity. Ten years later, Diwan had become a rousing success, with ten locations, 150 employees, and a fervent fan base.

Frank, fresh, and very funny, Nadia Wassef's memoir tells the story of this journey. Its eclectic cast of characters features Diwan's impassioned regulars, like the demanding Dr. Medhat; Samir, the driver with CEO aspirations; meditative and mythical Nihal; silent but deadly Hind; dictatorial and exacting Nadia, a self-proclaimed bitch to work with-and the many people, mostly men, who said Diwan would never work.

Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller is a portrait of a country hurtling toward revolution, a feminist rallying cry, and an unapologetic crash course in running a business under the law of entropy. Above all, it is a celebration of the power of words to bring us home.
 Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wessef

By:   Nadia Wassef
Imprint:   Corsair
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 18mm
Weight:   300g
ISBN:   9781472156839
ISBN 10:   1472156838
Pages:   240
Publication Date:   01 November 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Nadia Wassef is an owner of Diwan, Egypt's first modern bookstore, which she co-founded in 2002 with her sister, Hind. She received an MFA from Birkbeck College at the University of London; a Master in Social Anthropology from the University of London; and a Master in English from American University in Cairo. Before Diwan, she worked in research and advocacy for the Female Genital Mutilation Taskforce and in the Women and Memory Forum. Featured on the Forbes List of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the Middle East in 2014, 2015, and 2016, Wassef's work has been covered in Time, Monocle, Business Monthly, and elsewhere. She lives in London with her two daughters.

Reviews for Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller

'A moving portrait of Diwan and the Cairo that embraced it, an ode to all the people who have kept it going' * Harvard Review * 'A unique memoir about career, life, love, friendship, motherhood, and the impossibility of succeeding at all of them at the same time. It is the story of Diwan, the first modern bookstore in Cairo, which was opened by three women, one of whom penned this book. As a bookstore owner I found this fascinating. As a reader I found it fascinating. Blunt, honest, funny' -- enny Lawson, author of Broken (in the best possible way)


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