Alaa al Aswany was born in 1957. He is a dentist by profession, and for many years practised in the Yacoubian Building, which was to form the setting for his bestselling novel of the same name. He has written prolifically for Egyptian newspapers on politics, literature and social issues and his second novel, `Chicago', was published by Fourth Estate in 2008.
'An acute observer ... Al Aswany continues to be a voice worth hearing from a country of which we know far too little' Sunday Times'Aswany's anger with his country's political and social unfairness clearly has a foundation in a personal love for it ... affecting, human and very personal' The Times'Alaa Al Aswany is a world writer, making Egyptian concerns into human ones and beautifully illuminating our always extraordinary and sometimes sad and baffling world' The Times`Alaa Al Aswany is among the best writers in the Middle East today, a suitable heir to the mantle worn by Naquib Mahfouz, his great predecessor, whose influence is felt on every page. Yet Al Aswany has his own magic.' Guardian`A wonderful storyteller and a cynically astute observer of human folly and frailty.' Spectator