Egyptian writer Basma Abdel Aziz to participate at the Malta Book Festival 2016

Basma Abdel Aziz will be appearing both as a guest speaker and at an event in her honour

Basma Abdel Aziz, author of The Queue, will appear twice at this year's Malta Book Festival
Basma Abdel Aziz, author of The Queue, will appear twice at this year's Malta Book Festival

This year’s edition of the Malta Book Festival will be hosting Egyptian writer Basma Abdel Aziz, the author of the acclaimed novel The Queue.

Abdel Aziz will be appearing twice during the festival – as a guest speaker at the conference entitled ‘Literature and Totalitarianism’, which will open the festival on Wednesday 9 November, and once more at an event in her honour the following day. On Thursday, she will be talking to Maltese-Palestinian writer Walid Nahban about her work and her life, with selected readings from The Queue.

The Queue, Basma’s debut novel, explores the scenario of the aftermath of a failed revolution in an undefined Arab country. The narrative unfolds around the ‘queue’ – an endless line of civilians waiting to petition an impersonal administrative entity called The Gate for basic services. The ‘gate’ is said to be a powerful symbol for Arab readers, who associate it immediately with ‘La Porte’, the gates of the administrative wing of the Sultan’s Topkapi palace in Istanbul. This is reportedly the focus of Ottoman power which dominated the Arab peoples for more than four centuries, and is a symbol of distant and faceless administration.

The novel draws comparisons to classics of dystopian literature such as The Trial by Franz Kafka and Blindness by Jose Saramago, and is highly representative of the new wave of Middle Eastern writers, who seemingly try to come to terms with the social and political vacuum, the disappointing and chaotic aftermath of the Arab Uprisings of 2011.

Abdel Aziz, a Cairo resident, born in 1976, holds a Master’s degree in Neuropsychiatry from Ein Shams University and is a member of El Nadeem Centre For the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and a member of the Egyptian Women Writers’ Association.

She is also a human rights activist and has written extensively on the subjects of free elections, the right to physical integrity and safety, and the independence of public educational entities.

For more information about the Festival one can visit the official website at:

Alternatively, one can view the Facebook event: