23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Ezzedine Choukri Fishere

Ezzedine Choukri Fishere was born in Kuwait in 1966 and grew up in Egypt. He studied political science at Cairo University, administration at the École Nationale d’Administration in Paris, International Relations in Ottawa, and obtained his doctorate in political science at the Université de Montréal. Fishere was a diplomat in Tel Aviv and a political advisor to the UN, both for its mission in Jerusalem and in Sudan. In 2007 he suspended his diplomatic career, in order to focus exclusively on writing and teaching. Fishere is an associate professor at the American University in Cairo and writes for several Arab and international newspapers. His passion for literature, he says, has been the only permanent feature in his ever-changing life. The socio-political situation in Egypt and the Middle East has always been a theme of Fishere’s works. In his first four novels he describes the gradual decline of Egypt, where social and political decay erodes people’s lives. His books have often been read as a criticism of Egypt’s repression, injustice and human suffering. His first two books »Maqtal Fakhredine« (1995; tr.: The assassination of Fakhredine) and »Asfar Alfara’een« (1999; tr.: The Pharaohs Journeys) were therefore published on the quiet, since his critical stance would have been considered a breach of his diplomatic obligations. Today, his novels receive a lot of attention and recognition. In 2008, he published »Ghurfat al-enaya al-morrakaza« (tr.: ICU). The plot is set in Khartoum, in the Egyptian consulate, which collapsed after a suicide attack. Buried in the rubble are the intelligence officer of the embassy, a well-known liberal journalist, a female Islamist leader, and a Coptic human rights advocate. They represent very different social and religious circles, yet they share the same destiny and begin to ponder upon their lives. Eventually they cannot but recognize that they have all fallen prey to their own decisions, and are to be blamed for the very circumstances they have to bear with now. In his latest novel »Enak enda Gesr Brooklyn« (2011; tr.: Embrace at Brooklyn Bridge) the eight protagonists of the story, people of Egyptian and Arab origin, are on their way to a party in New York City. During their trip, the reader learns more about their lives. They seem to be successful, well-integrated into Western society, and still suffer because of their roots. Fishere describes the identity problems of many Arabs and Muslims who live abroad or between two cultures. The novel has often been understood as a critical review of Western-Arab relations. However, the author underlines that it can also be seen as an attempt to overcome this categorical approach. Both books were nominated for the Arabic Booker Prize.

Ezzedine Choukri Fishere lives in Cairo.

© internationales literaturfestival berlin


Maqtal Fakhredine
Kairo, 1995

Asfar Alfara’een
Kairo, 1999

Ghurfet Al Enaya Al Morakkaza
Kairo, 2008

Enak enda Gesr Brooklyn
Kairo, 2011