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The Journey

Memoirs of an Egyptian Woman Student in America

Published by Olive Branch Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

THIS TRANSLATION IS AN HOMAGE TO A GREAT LITERARY FIGURE AND TO THOSE MOVEMENTS WHICH CARRY ON HER LEGACY IN THEIR WORK Never neutral and deeply engaged in politics, literature, people’s struggles, and what she calls the “most urgent causes of our times,” a young Radwa Ashour charts her years as a student in the US of the 1970s, where she would become the first PhD student to graduate from the newly founded W.E.B Du Bois department of Afro-American Studies and the English Department of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1975. A political progressive and leftist writer, critic, and activist, her memoir reflects not only on her own journey and struggles but those of the people she met and engaged with in the United States, especially African Americans. The Journey narrates the years which Ashour spent in the US and captures so vividly the spirit and ethos of the time it chronicles—the early 1970s. Anti-colonial movements, a commitment to popular struggles and people’s liberation, as well as linking scholarship and work on the ground, are all alive and real in her memoir. First published in Arabic over thirty years ago and written about a period (1973–1975) a decade before, the text is still vibrant and relevant today. Just emerging from the devastation of the Six Day War in 1967, Ashour talks about the pain of what we call the “sixties generation” in the Arab world and intermeshes the pressing questions and issues of the time within a quotidian story, as well as the life of an Egyptian woman within a deeply divided US society at war both with itself and abroad. Radwa Ashour’s work—through the unique lens of this incisively observant visitor—reminds us of what the issues and debates in the US of this period were like and how deeply connected they are to struggles today such as Black Lives Mater and Ferguson-Palestine.

About The Author

Radwa Ashour, a highly acclaimed Egyptian writer and scholar, is the author of more than fifteen books of fiction, memoir, and criticism; among them, Siraaj and Granada have been published in English. She is a recipient of the Constantine Cavafy Prize for Literature. She lives in Cairo, where she teaches literature at Ain Shams University, Cairo. Barbara Romaine has been teaching Arabic for nearly two decades, currently at Villanova University. Her other translations include Bahaa Taher’s novel Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery and Radwa Ashour’s Siraaj.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Olive Branch Press (July 1, 2018)
  • Length: 224 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781623719975

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Raves and Reviews

"The Journey, first published in Arabic in 1983 (Al-rihla: ayyam talibah misriyah fi amrika), is an intimate, often charmingly unfiltered view of Ashour's reaction to this new world and the people she met. She shares her experiences not only as a scholar but as a political activist and young wife separated from her family and her Palestinian husband, poet Mourid Barghouti. In 1975 Ashour became the first student at the University of Massachusetts to receive a doctorate in African American literature, one of her many outstanding accomplishments before her untimely death in 2014."

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