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Wednesday 9 July 2008 morning ceremony
Dr Ahdaf Soueif (DLitt)
Ahdaf Soueif is a bestselling author and a political and cultural commentator. The London Review of Books called her ‘a political analyst and commentator of the best kind’ and her clear-eyed reporting and analysis is syndicated throughout the world. A collection of her essays Mezzaterra: Fragments from the Common Ground, was published in 2004. The book, though, is more than a collection of essays; it is a document of our changing times and their effect on the priorities and the world view of a novelist.
She wrote the bestseller The Map of Love, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1999 and translated into 18 languages.
In 1990 Soueif’s novel In the Eye of the Sun, was welcomed by Arab authors and critics as ‘Arabic Literature written in English’. In 1996 her collection of short stories, Zinat al- Hayah, won the ‘Best Short Story Collection Award’ of the Cairo International Book Fair. Her translation, from Arabic into English, of Mourid Barghouti’s I Saw Ramallah also came out in 2004.
Ms Soueif occupies a unique position among contemporary writers: Egyptian and British, writing in both English and Arabic, concerned with both the art of fiction and the state of the world.
In 2007 Ms Soueif established Engaged Events, a UK-based charity. Its first project was the Palestine Festival of Literature, which took place in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah from 7 to 12 May 2008.
Ahdaf Soueif has two sons, Omar Robert and Ismail Richard. She lives in London and Cairo.
The University of Exeter, The Queen’s Drive, Exeter, Devon, UK EX4 4QJ
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