Al-Shaykh Profile

A profile of novelist Hanan Al-Shaykh appears in Al-Ahram Weekly. Lots of interesting or amusing tidbits about the author, though my favorite is about her obsession with singer Laila Murad (hey, it’s Friday):

“When you’ve read Hikayati Sharhun Yatoul, you’ll know what Laila Murad meant to me then, especially her lips, because of the way she would curl them in the movies. I liked Madam Rachel because I was told that Laila Murad came to her to play the partita,” a gambling card game, “or maybe it was bridge, I don’t remember. Anyway, one day I came back from school and who should I find right there in front of me but Laila Murad. In black, her hair tied back in a bun, no make- up. So I throw my books in the air and charge at her; she must’ve been scared, the poor thing. ‘I love you, my mother loves you, Fadila loves you…’ I just list all those names to her. And later she can’t play because of my excessive attention — I’d bring her water, she didn’t want water; I’d wipe her brow with a handkerchief — just never taking my eyes off her.”

More here.