Thursday, February 23, 2017, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
discussing the subject of her new book
Generation Revolution: On the Front Line
Between Tradition and Change in the Middle East
from Other Press
In 2011 during the Arab Spring, the government of Egypt transformed
from a dictatorship to a democratic presidency. The chaos that
resulted during this time erupted from a decade of social and
political unrest among the Egyptian people. GENERATION REVOLUTION is
the story of the millennial generation in Egypt during the Arab
Spring, from the perspective of several different young men and women
whose different views explore the way Egypt has been shaped before,
during, and after the 2011 end of Hosni Mubarak's presidency.
Aspden spent years in Egypt during the beginning of unrest in 2003 and
moved back again during the years following post-revolution in 2011.
Aspden offers a window into the world of the Middle East during the
Arab Spring, before, during, and after Egypt's chaotic overthrow of
their President Mubarak and his successor, the democratically elected
Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi.
Through Aspden's curious and unbiased gaze, readers hear the Egyptian
voices of Amr, an atheist university-educated software engineer, Amal,
a fiercely independent young woman who lives on her own in Cairo which
is practically unheard of, Ayman, a devout Muslim teenager who chooses
to follow ultraconservative Salafi Islam to the surprise of his
middle-class parents, and Mazen, a fan of TV preacher Amr Khaled who
finds himself on the front lines during the revolution. With these
perspectives along with others', readers learn that from atheists to
ultra-religious, from conservative young men to liberal young women,
the growing generation of Egypt is vastly different, struggling to
find a place for various voices during chaotic government upheaval.
Aspden writes from the front lines of this new generation, sharing
their stories and harbouring their own doubts, resentments, and hope
for what is to come.
Rachel Aspden became literary editor of the New Statesman in 2006, at
the age of 26. She now works at the Guardian, and also writes on a
freelance basis for the New Statesman, Observer, Prospect and Think
magazine (Qatar). She lived in Cairo in 2003-4 and worked as an editor
and reporter on the English-language Cairo Times. Since then, from her
UK base, she has travelled to and reported from across the region and
the wider Muslim world: Yemen, the UAE, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria,
Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Pakistan
and north India. In 2010, she was awarded a year-long travelling
fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to research
activists working to fight extremism within Islam. Following the Arab spring uprisings in 2011, she moved back to Egypt
to research this book. She is currently based in London and reports
for the Guardian.