by Ghada Al-Absi
The life of poet Hafez Al-Shirazi forms the background from which this novel draws its great ideas about life, love and poetry. And although this book is based on the visions of this great poet, it is not a heterosexual biography of his life but rather an imagined novel inspired by his poetry.
The events of the novel take place in one night when Hafez dies, only to be born again. Throughout the long night, the author reviews stories, conflicts and milestone events in history, and Hafez has the chance to meet the poles of Sufi love in multiple chronological paths within the novel. He contemplates the black death and is defeated by the Farsi language with his early failures in poetry, but he finds salvation in the Arabic language by memorising the entire Qur’an. As a result, Shams Al-Din chooses another name inspired by him: Hafez, who the world will embrace until the Shiraz baker becomes a minister, on a human journey in which the Shirazi tests and loses everything successively.
Shortlisted for the 2021 Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Young Author
Born in Cairo in 1982, Ghada Al-Absi graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Ain Shams University in 2006 and obtained a master's degree in haematology and immunology in 2012. She worked as a soloist at the Egyptian Opera House for several years, practicing medicine, writing and singing whenever possible.
Al-Absi has three published novels: Al-Fishawi in 2016 by Dar Al-Saqi, the manuscript of which won the Dubai Cultural Award, Rewayat Al Iskafi Al Akhdar (The Story of the Green Cobbler) published by the Battana Publishing and Distribution in 2017, which won the Literature News Award, and Laylat Yalda (Yalda Night) published in 2018 by Dar Al-Tanweer, which has reached the short list of the Sawiris Cultural Award. She also has three short story collections: Hashyshat Al Malak (Angel's Hashish) published in 2013, Awlad Al Hor (Children of Heaven) which won first place in the General Organisation of Culture Palaces award in 2014, and Beit El Loaz (House of Almond) published in 2018 by Dar Ghurab Publishing, which includes many short stories that won local and Arab awards, including: the Nazik Al-Malaika Award for Feminist Creativity, the Ihsan Abdel Quddous Award, and the Egyptian Story Club Awards.
She won a grant for the Global Writing Programme in the USA during 2017, which selects only about 35 writers from around the world annually to participate in cultural and literary events that are held over three months by the Iowa’s Writing Workshop. She was also awarded an honorary fellowship in Writing from the University of Iowa in the same year.
Sheikh Zayed Book Award
The SZBA is presented to writers, intellectuals and publishers whose writings and translations of humanities have enriched Arab cultural, literary and social life.View all titles
- Publisher Dar Al Tanweer
- ISBN/Identifier 9786144720257
- Publication Country or regionEgypt
- Publish StatusPublished
- Original Language TitleLaylat Yalda
- Copyright Year2018
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