Inside a cosy, Cairo bookshop away from the hustle and bustle

inside a cosy cairo bookshop away from the hustle and bustle

Sumary of Inside a cosy, Cairo bookshop away from the hustle and bustle:

  • For nearly 20 years, Diwan Bookstore has offered a respite from the chaos of daily life in the Egyptian capital, persevering through economic downturns, a revolution, a military coup, a crackdown on freedom of expression and a pandemic.
  • Opening such a shop in Cairo faces a host of other, Egyptian obstacles – and detractors warned Diwan’s founders from the beginning that their business was bound to fail.
  • Some visitors to the shop struggled to differentiate between a bookstore and a public library, urging the owners to give out the books for free“You went and found more dust than books,” Egyptian novelist and columnist Mohamed Salmawy recalls.
  • Wassef, her sister Hind and their friend Nihal Schawky dreamed of a different kind of space: a multilingual bookstore that would allow readers to browse work from legendary Egyptian authors, like Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, but also a wide array of emerging voices from across the Arab world – as well as titles from the United States and Europe.
  • A place where women would feel safe from the sexual harassment they often experienced on Cairo’s streets.
  • In one run-in with government censors, Wassef was summoned to the now-defunct Mogamma, a labyrinthine building of government offices that was infamous for embodying all the worst traits of Egyptian bureaucracy.

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