Merit wins publisher's prize

Congratulations to Mohammed Hashem, owner of the Merit publishing house, for winning the Association of American Publishers' Jeri Laber International Freedom to Publish Award.

Merit is now the leading independent publisher of fiction in Egypt, bringing much new talent to the scene as well as translation of English works to Arabic. Recent hits includen Taht Khatt Al Faqr (Below the poverty line), Ahmed Al Aidi's An Takoun Abbas Al Abd (Being Abbad Al Abd), Amru Afia's The Edge of Seduction, Hussein Abdel Alim's Puzzle, Sherif Younis Al Zahf Al Muqaddas (The Sacred Mob), as well as the first Arabic translation of Chuch Palahniuk's Fight Club.

Update: Meanwhile, the government arrests five Islamist publishers who were printing material against the upcoming renewal of the emergency law.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,