On the beach with Ahdaf Soueif

Ahdaf Soueif 

An Egyptian short story writer, novelist and political and cultural commentator. She was educated in Egypt and England - studied for a PhD in linguistics at the University of Lancaster. Her novel The Map of Love(1999) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and subsequently translated into 16 languages. Soueif writes primarily in English, but her Arabic-speaking readers say they can hear the Arabic through the English. 

"That narrow stretch of sand knows nothing in the world better than it does the white waves that whip it, caress it, collapse on to it. The white foam knows nothing better than those sands which wait for it, rise to it and suck it in. 

But what do the waves know of the massed, hot, still sands of the desert just twenty, no, ten feet beyond the scalloped edge? And what does the beach knows of depths, the cold, the currents just there, where - do you see it? - Where the water turns a deeper blue." — Ahdaf Soueif, I Think of You: Stories

"I haven't come to you only to take, I haven't come to you empty handed: I bring you poetry as great as yours but in another tongue, I bring you black eyes and golden skin and curly hair, I bring you Islam and Luxor and Alexandria and Lutes and tambourines and date-palms and silk rugs and sunshine and incense and voluptuous ways" — Ahdaf SoueifIn the Eye of the Sun.

"Egypt. Mother of civilization, dreaming herself through the centuries. Dreaming us all, her children: those who stay and work for her and complain of her, and those who leave and yearn for her and blame her with bitterness for driving them away." — Ahdaf Soueif, The Map of Love

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