Iman Mersal

Traces of Enayat

When Iman Mersal stumbles upon a great – yet forgotten – novel written by Enayat al-Zayyat, a young woman who killed herself in 1963, four years before her book was published, Mersal begins to research the writer. She tracks down Enayat’s best friend, who had been Egypt’s biggest movie star at the time; she is given access to Enayat’s diaries. Mersal can’t accept, as has been widely speculated since Enayat’s death, that a publisher’s rejection was the main reason for Enayat’s suicide. From archives, Enayat’s writing, and Mersal’s own interviews and observations, a remarkable portrait emerges of a woman striving to live on her own terms, as well as of the artistic and literary scene in post-revolution Cairo.

Blending research with imagination, and adding a great deal of empathy, the award-winning Egyptian poet Iman Mersal has created an unclassifiable masterpiece.

Paperback: £12.99
EBook: £11.99

More Info

  • If you subscribed to And Other Stories by 30 January 2023, you will receive your copy of Traces of Enayat – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – ahead of publication, in August 2023, as well as up to five other specially selected And Other Stories titles per year. Find out more about our subscriptions.
  • Iman Mersal spoke on the Limits and Pleasures of Egyptian Womanhood at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival – you can watch a recording here.
  • A selection of Iman Mersal’s poetry is available to read on the Words Without Borders website.
Print status: Pre-order
Author: Iman Mersal
Translator: Robin Moger
Original language: Arabic
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 3 August 2023
ISBN: 9781913505721
Ebook ISBN: 9781913505738
Availability: World English


Praise for the Iman Mersal

‘Undeceived, ironic, daring, Mersal’s poems are animated by a singular sensibility. They deal candidly with real life—migration, dying parents, emotional entanglements—and discover general truths among the fine particulars.’ Nick Laird

‘Long recognized throughout the Arab world and in Europe, Mersal is one of the strongest confessional (or postconfessional) poets we now have, in any language: her poems are fueled by a mordant wit, sensual vibrancy, and feminist brio.’ Maureen N. McLane

‘Mersal's poems are many things – sensuous, cerebral, intimate, angry and disorientating. They provide food for thought and elicit laughter in the dark . . . [The Threshold is] a perfect entry point for readers new to her work.’ Malcolm Forbes, The National