Haytham El-Wardany is a prolific writer of short stories, essays, art writing, and experimental prose, whose understated style, dark imagination and outsider’s perspective have earned him a reputation as one of Egypt’s most talented authors. He was born in Giza in 1972, and for the last twenty years has lived in Berlin, where his contribution to the city’s arts and literary scene was recognised in 2021 by the senate’s prestigious Stipend for Non-German Literature. He has translated German-language works by Walter Benjamin, Wolfgang Hermann and Robert Walser into Arabic.
El-Wardany’s short stories first appeared in the anthology Threads on Circles in 1995. His first solo collection The Unfinished Literature Club received the 2003 Sawiris Award for best short story collection; his second, Daydream, won the Cairo International Book Fair’s 2012 prize for best short story collection. In 2021 his latest collection, Things That Can’t Be Fixed, won him the Cairo International Book Fair prize for a second time.
El-Wardany’s work is adventurous and often genre-defying, as reflected in two publications of experimental prose, which are also his only full-length works to have appeared in translation. How to Disappear appeared in Arabic and English in 2013, and was later translated into Spanish; The Book of Sleep (2017) was critically acclaimed and appeared in English in 2020. His newest work, Jackals and the Lost Letters, combines fable, short story and essay forms (2023). Numerous short stories and essays have appeared in Arabic and English in literary journals and art publications.
His website (in English): nakoja-abad.work