Staff Member Trevor Naylor Explores City's 'Inner Havens' in Cairo Inside Out

For many visitors, Cairo’s crowds and traffic can seem overwhelming. Highlighting the city’s quieter, cooler interiors in his new book Cairo Inside Out, Trevor Naylor, associate director of sales and marketing at AUC Press, takes readers on an illustrated walk through Cairo’s “indoor havens," including restaurants, homes, hotels, terraces and historical venues –– and those sights made accessible from within these spaces.

“This is the first attempt to recreate, in book form, just how it really feels to sit and observe Cairo from various quiet, perhaps secret, places,” reflected Naylor. “It gets at why this sense of place is unique to this city, which I have known for 30 years now.”

Reflecting on his inspiration for the book, Naylor said, “I had always wanted to write a book about Cairo. One day, I was sitting in Café Riche downtown, watching the world go by. I was the only person there and, suddenly, I realized what I wanted to communicate with this book.” He began his work by creating a list of some 60 places across the city that could be included in the book.

The slightly smaller than a coffee-table-style book interweaves both photography and text to paint nuanced and intriguing images of Cairo, meant to entice readers to visit for the first time or return with a fresh perspective. “The book is organized according to areas, such as Zamalek and the Nile or Downtown,” explained Naylor. “This makes it useable for walks and day tours as a complement to a standard guide, or allows readers to skim, read and reminisce,” He added that he typically combines words and photography in his books, aiming to reflect reality as genuinely as possible.

Bulgarian freelance photographer, Doriana Dimitrova, collaborated with Naylor on the book, capturing images to illustrate the intricacies of the intimate corners that Naylor hopes to convey to readers. Naylor and Dimitrova had previously worked together on a book about Arabic language phrases and sayings titled A Roving Eye: Head to Toe in Egyptian Arabic Expressions. “This had been a successful collaboration, and I wanted to extend our work to this new book,” said Naylor. “She has a great eye and delivered what was needed for the many places I chose to depict in the book.”  

Naylor and Dimitrova celebrated the launch of Cairo Inside Out with a reception and book signing at the Windsor Hotel in downtown Cairo, fittingly one of the locations highlighted in the book. Since its publication in January, the book has received numerous positive reviews and has been a bestseller in bookstores throughout Cairo. This success has prompted Naylor and Dimitrova to begin work on a larger project titled Egypt Inside Out, to be published in 2018.