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The cultural mission of a diplomat’s wife

By Tajuddin
Jan 13th, 2015
Salwa Elhamamsy: Being in Dublin, the city of literature

Salwa Elhamamsy: Being in Dublin, the city of literature

This article by: Salwa Elhamamsy

The content of this [report/study/article/publication…] does not reflect the official opinion of the DIPLOMAT NEWS NETWORK.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

Travelling was not my dream. I did not expect to spend my life travelling around the world. It is a must, however, now that I am a diplomat’s wife, and now I like it, and here I am in Ireland.

The Arid Forty is, I hope, a touching, warm short story collection from Egypt and the Arab world. It was first published in Arabic in Egypt in 2005 and reprinted in 2008. Being in Dublin, the city of literature, pushed me to translate it into English and to publish it through Amazon after trying many Irish publishers who seemed uninterested in Arabic literature.

In these stories I reflected on the humanitarian phenomena in our society. I wrote about the dreams of an ordinary Egyptian woman who dreamed for herself and for the Arabs who suffer in Palestine and in Iraq. She dreamed, suffered and was looking for somebody to listen to her. In her story, Awaiting, I was that person who listens.

I was there sharing a dream of a man for his daughter in All that little Dream. He was not able to buy her an oil painting box, instead he bought her a box of colouring pencils.

I was with Malak, the Egyptian girl, in her dream of travelling back to the land of her birth. There she found her love, the man she wished to meet. She hesitated when she had to choose between her love and her home. I hesitated with her and asked a friend of mine who had similar circumstances to tell me her opinion so as to put the end of the story.

I always look for inspiration and it is not easy. I can be inspired by an idea that suddenly comes to mind, a word I hear from somebody, a news item that I read. In my writings I always have something to say to the reader. I pick my stories from life and add to it from my imagination.

Travel always has a great impact on my writing. I started travel writing eight years ago when I was inspired by Singapore where I stayed for four years, about its people, traditions and their old and modern lifestyle. So I wrote Diaries of an Egyptian in Singapore.

I wrote about Ukraine where I lived for a year. I wrote about my visit to London and Paris. Ireland was special to me, I wrote a travel book about her friendly people, Irish lifestyle, traditions, history and festivals. The book about Ireland will be available in English translation soon on Amazon.

Being in Dublin, the city of literature, I expected to find more help and interest in Arabic literature, which only happened three years ago when I had an evening about my writing in the Irish Writers Centre, thanks to Catherine Dunne who arranged that for me. I would like to find more help and welcome here.

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