Mohga Hassib interviewed celebrated Egyptian novelist Ibrahim Abdelmeguid about his International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF)-longlisted novel, Clouds Over Alexandria, his philosophy on writing, and how he sees contemporary Alexandria.  

Mohga Hassib: What drove you to write a trilogy about Alexandria and how did the idea come to you? Did you know from the beginning that it was going to be a trilogy?

Ibrahim Abdelmeguid: After I wrote No One Sleeps in Alexandria, where its events revolve around World War Two, I realized that the city underwent three major historical periods. The first period was the great historical Alexandria as a cosmopolitan world city, on which this novel has a window despite the horrors of the Second World War. Alexandria was the city of religious and ethnic tolerance. Being born and raised in Alexandria, I witnessed the transformation of the city into an Egyptian one after the 1956…

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