It’s the first few weeks of 2011 and the streets of Cairo are a battleground between protestors and government forces. The world is witnessing the first days of the Arab Spring. Millions of Egyptians from different backgrounds have gathered to rise against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, and among them is novelist Alaa Al Aswany.
In his latest novel, The Republic of False Truths, which has been banned in Egypt and neighbouring countries, Al Aswany chronicles the hope, courage, and sacrifice of the civilians behind the uprising. In their fight for a better nation, Al Aswany’s characters grapple with the forces of state, power, governance, religion and society. Through the eyes of a young teacher, a governor, and a TV personality, we witness lives collide, love blossom, and the systems of power held to account.
The bestselling author of The Yacoubian Building and a leading figure in the Egyptian revolution, Al Aswany is one of the most formidable voices in the Arab world. He was listed first on The Foreign Policy Top 100 Global Thinkers list in 2011.
Alaa Al Aswany was in conversation with Lyse Doucet, the BBC’s chief international correspondent. Together they discussed how Al Aswany’s experience of the Egyptian Revolution inspired him to write this novel of hope, love, revolution and political change.