Shady Lewis, born 1978, is an Egyptian journalist and novelist whose debut novel The Lord’s Ways was published in 2018. An ambitious family history recounted through the weekly confessions of a young man trying to obtain a marriage license from a sceptical local priest, the novel sheds light on the precarious position of the Coptic Christians in Egypt, a subject rarely broached in detail in Egyptian literature.
Since 2006, Lewis has lived in the United Kingdom, where the many years he has spent employed by the National Health Service and local authority housing departments have given him a unique perspective on British society. In 2019, the diaries he kept while working in a homeless hostel in East London became a second book, On The Greenwich Line. Critically acclaimed in Arabic, the book has been translated into French (Sur le méridien de Greenwich, Actes Sud, 2023) and German (Auf dem Nullmeridian, Hoffmann und Campe, 2023).
Lewis’s third novel, A Brief History of Creation and Eastern Cairo (2021) unfolds during a breathless few hours of armed confrontation between security forces and Islamists, and is based on real events which took place in 1989. While Lewis’s journalism and fiction share many of the same concerns, he has said: “What really fascinates me about novels is their ability to take a moral stand on the ground of aesthetics, to simultaneously protest and entertain, to give pleasure and speak in the name of the oppressed and the forgotten.”