The American University in Cairo (AUC) Press has officially launched Hoopoe, a new literary imprint that delivers bold, contemporary writing from the Middle East in elegant paperback and digital editions, aimed at an engaged, inquisitive readership worldwide. From historical epics, social satire, police procedurals, and stories of the future Middle East, Hoopoe fiction challenges headlines, reimagines histories, and celebrates original storytelling, offering a unique selection of groundbreaking authors handpicked for the first season.“The focus of the new imprint is on providing the reader with a great reading experience, irrespective of whether they know much about the Middle East,” said AUC Press’s director, Nigel Fletcher-Jones. Hoopoe’s initial release featured fiction from Morocco to Palestine: Ibrahim Essa’s The Televangelist, a biting satire of social mores and religious hypocrisy in Egypt; Youssef Fadel’s A Rare Blue Bird Flies with Me, a chilling journey into Morocco’s heart of darkness; Abdelilah Hamdouchi’s Whitefly, a murder mystery set in the timely world of illegal migrants trying to reach Europe from North Africa and Ibrahim Nasrallah’s Time of White Horses, an epic generational saga of life and struggle in a Palestinian village.
“Hoopoe has everything ⎯ crime novels, family sagas, futuristic fiction, and literary story writing,” said Trevor Naylor, AUC Press associate director for sales and marketing. “With this new imprint, translated Arabic fiction should find its rightful place in the forefront of the world literary scene.” The hoopoe, the imprint’s brand logo, is a beautiful bird found across the Middle East, known for its distinctive crown of black and white feathers as well as its unique call. In Ancient Egypt, the hoopoe was considered sacred, and in the ’Qur'an it is depicted as a trusted messenger.
The website hoopoefiction.com is designed as a cross-cultural hub for discovery and exchange where readers can find inspiring writing from the Middle East, interviews with authors, and commentaries from translators and editors.