Interview with longlisted author Mohammed Abdel Nabi


When did you begin writing Nearly Every Day and where did the inspiration for it come from?

I wrote some sections of the novel many years ago, as experimental drafts, or scattered pages, or parts of other projects. Then I put those drafts aside for years because I became busy with other things, without knowing what would happen to them. So it’s hard to say when I began writing. As for inspiration, I don’t really believe in it, but if “inspiration” means the things which gave the novel life, there are many. Firstly, direct life experience. Secondly, one’s inner life, the stories of others, and all the artistic and cultural sources which could possibly enrich the experience of human beings and writers.   

How long did the novel take to write and where were you when you finished it?

Since I was born, I have lived in Egypt, most of the time in Cairo. I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else. The period of real work upon the material in the book was about five years, which included pulling things together, arranging them, editing, revising, expanding and polishing. During this period, I published a collection of short stories and a book of literary articles. 

Do you have writing rituals?

I don’t have any rituals relating to writing. As long as I have time and ideas or projects, I have to sit down and write, even if it is just for half an hour, but the problem is usually lack of time or sufficient conviction about the idea, which would enable me to continue writing after I have made a start. However, those are things unrelated to what are called “rituals”.

What is your next literary project after this novel?

For just over a year, I have been working on a collection of short stories which are medium to long in length. I can’t say that I have a first draft, but I am nearly there. I just need to edit and revise them. I hope they will be ready for publication before the end of 2024. The stories are simple and realistic human tales, completely different from the world of Nearly Every Day.