Rehab Bassam was born in Cairo in 1977. She studied English at the Ain Shams University in Cairo. In 2004 she began blogging, mainly in English, and then in Arabic ( hadouta.blogspot.com). She reached a wide audience with the publication of a selection of her blog entries in book for, entitled »Orz billaban lishakhsain« (Cairo 2008, tr: Rice Pudding For Two), a book that has been reissued several times and is part of a series devoted to young bloggers iniated by the publishing house DarEl Shorouk.
The undated texts of varying lengths are snapshots from the life of a middle class young woman from Cairo. They are apolitical and portray the author’s attitude to life: daily life at home with her mother, brother and cat; the relationship with her mother; the death of a beloved aunt; going out with friends; moods and atmospheres and general observations on life. One example is the episode called »Chatter«, in which the author tries to understand the reasons for her dejection and recalls the events of the previous days: a meal with colleagues, an unpleasant interview with her boss: and a condolence visit and her anger at her own choice of dress. At the end Rehab Bassam retreats into bed and decides to sleep for a long, long time: »What should I do with myself? I’m offended, angry, and sad. And everything hurts… everything.«
The blogger describes her blog entries as »literary texts« and her blog as a »little private writer’s workshop«. They are not spontaneously created on the computer, but, as she said in an interview, are »complete in my head, then I write them down while I’m driving my car or walking down the street. I make very few revisions when re-reading them«
The Egyptian critic and author Ibrahim Farghali wrote of »Rice Pudding For Two«: »At first glance Rehab Bassam’s style and language appear simple, as with so many diaries. But this simplicity is deceptive. You soon realise that the author understands very clearly what art is. She has her own philosophy of life and literature and attempts to pack her little plots like sweets in a pretty wrapper. The arduous business of wrapping up is a process the reader doesn’t get to see.«
Rehab Bassam lives in Cairo and works for the publishing house Dar El Shorouk as an editor of children’s books.
© international literaturefestival berlin