The English copy of Mohamed Salmawy’s novel Ajnihat al-farasha (The Butterfly Wings), translated by Raphael Cohen (AUC Press), adorns New York’s bookshop windows.
The Butterfly Wings, which predicted the outbreak of the 2011 revolution, was first published in Arabic in 2011 by al-Dar al-Misriya al-Libnaniya.
According to an Egyptian media outlet, a source at New York’s university library attributed the mounting interest in Salmawy’s latest novel to him being a renowned international writer, stating, “The novel has garnered a lot of acclaim as a result of a growing interest in modern Arabic literature; because of its subject which still captures the world’s attention and also because of its writer who is known internationally.”
The script, which revolves around the relationship between Doha, a fashion designer, and Ashraf, an academic “runs alongside a young Egyptian’s search for the mother he never knew, and these intersecting narratives unfold against the background of political protests that culminate in the overthrow of the regime,” as mentioned in the novel’s review on the AUC Press website.
In addition to his prominence as an Egyptian novelist, playwright and poet, Salmawy is also the president of the Writers’ Union of Egypt and secretary general of the General Union of Arab Writers. As for Raphael Cohen, his previous translation projects include So You May See by Mona Prince (AUC Press, 2011) and Status: Emo by Eslam Mosbah (AUC Press, 2013).