And Other Stories has acquired Traces of Enayat, an award-winning exploration of the life of revered Egyptian writer Enayat al-Zayyat, by acclaimed Egyptian poet and translator and academic Iman Mersal.

When Iman Mersal stumbled upon a significant – yet forgotten – novel written by a young woman who killed herself shortly after her book was rejected by publishers, Mersal began to research the writer. From archival research, Enayat’s writing, and Mersal’s own interviews and observations, a remarkable portrait emerges of a woman attempting to live independently. First published in Arabic in 2019, Traces of Enayat won the prestigious 2021 Sheikh Zayed Book Award, making Mersal the first woman to win its Literature category. Traces of Enayat will be translated into English by Robin Moger.

Iman Mersal on the book’s publication: “I’m thankful for the enthusiasm and support from And Other Stories, and look forward to Traces of Enayat being introduced to English language readers for the first time.”

Here’s what our editor Tara Tobler had to say on the acquisition:

“Iman Mersal is a writer who draws you in by affinity, by fondness, by warmth, much as her life of Enayat al-Zayyat draws in an astonishing range of subjects. If a book is a room (as has been said more prettily about sonnets), how can that room be made to hold so many worlds – mid-century psychiatry, the struggles of women artists, the capriciousness of divorce law, the enthusiasms of German Egyptologists, the dazzle of cinema and a handbag clutched next to Omar Sharif, much less the author’s own search for unheard-of mausoleums on streets whose names have changed, streets that in fact belong to cemeteries, the cemeteries turned shanty-towns, the shanty-towns pegged up like washing over the City of the Dead – how can one room hold so much without shrinking it all under glass? Iman Mersal has an unerring instinct for bringing old life to new life, new life in all its messy associative magic, like clinging to like, and I remain mute in admiration before her accomplishment.”


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