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Blue Aubergine
Miral Al-Tahawi (Cairo/Egypt)
Admission: 4 Euro, concessions 2,50 Euro
gender, modernity, perception, tradition
"Must I eternally regard the world only from above, from the trees? Must I remain barred from love, unity, attachment?" Miral Al-Tahawi

In her acclaimed novels and short stories the Egyptian author Miral Al-Tahawi presents a critical and self-critical treatment of the issue of "women in Egyptian society" and the complex relationships between tradition and modernity. Blue Aubergine tells the story of the girl Nada, who is born blue in the face. Her parents call her, with tender mockery, "the blue aubergine" and have high expectations for her. Her mother thinks she will be a princess someday, her father thinks she will be an astronaut. Eventually Nada finds herself at the university, unable to understand the world and her body anymore. She veils herself, hides behind the headscarf and seeks refuge in the religious slogans of the Islamists.
However, the protagonist soon sees through the hollow rhetoric of left-wing, fundamental and liberal ideologies, and she experiences all the confusion and fears of her generation in search of a self-determined life. "This tale of a reverse conversion contains social dynamite", wrote Stefan Weidner in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. For this novel Miral Al-Tahawi received the Egyptian Literature Prize, the first woman to do so.

The author's novels "The Tent" (2000), which tells of a young girl's failure, and "The Blue Aubergine" (2002) have appeared in English translation.

Miral Al-Tahawi, born in 1968 in Sharqiya/Egypt, grew up in a Bedouin family. She is a temporary lecturer at the University of Cairo and is now working on her doctoral dissertation on desert novels in Arab literature.

Moderator: Doris Kilias, translator/journalist (Berlin)

Language: Arabic and German with simultaneous translation

Contact: Sven Arnold