How many of us ever fancied publishing a best-seller book topping the shelves of the most prominent book stores across the country, or the region, or the world, perhaps lofty fantasies of you hosted on Oprah Winfrey’s show might have garnished your wide imagination for a while. Beyond doubts, the thought has crossed the minds of thousands at a time when fortune and fame are working at a feverish pace, especially being famous as an intellect brings on more prestige and respect. Both reading and publishing are becoming quite a remarkable movement in Egypt, post years of stagnation, whereas reading and writing restricted to a certain category and thus readers and writers were reverted to as old-fashioned and too classic for the modern-day Egyptian taste. Gladly, some opted to flip the curtain and embarked on a journey of exercising the existing relative freedom of expression and document their feelings, as well as Egyptians day- to-day moments of happiness and sadness on paper.
Birth of “A Cup of Tea”
“The dream of my life is finally coming true”, May Hamdy grins her way into unraveling an amusing publishing journey of her first book. Its a set of collective articles, she calls “scribbles”, written on different dates, the oldest of them are traced back to 2004. Topics are diverse, they represent a writer who had bonded with stories of real characters and incidents flavored with a passion embedded within to make a change in the lives of those who are needy of it.
The idea of this book was in 2006, when she knew it is possible to put all her scattered scribbles into a light capsule, as she planned to name it “Scribbles of an Egyptian Girl” which is an existing article on the book. Later, it seemed best to name it “A Cup of Tea”. The philosophy behind the name was that reading any book takes you to different emotional stages with its highs and lows, just like a cup of tea.
It’s been along with the journey to bring the book to light, she sought to reach top publishers in the city. However, the difficulty resided in overloaded publishing schedules, apparently, for best-seller writers favor, which leaves too little space to be dragged on any of the biggest publishers plan. Eventually, she ventures to find a publisher with a much relaxed schedule and an ambition to help young writers rise. The process hasn’t been as demanding, only requires self-funded proposal. It’s a common criterion among publishers, if you are willing to pay printing and design cost – then you are half way through and the rest should be sorted out by the course of the process.
Hamdy is a human rights researcher, proud to crown her 20’s era with fulfilling a dream of getting published, the very dream which stood as a blockade for others, an attempt that shall revive the faith of those who thought they lack the means to be published. “It takes determination and patience to make it happen, for the entire process constantly puts your fortitude to the test” she affirms.
She had an early writing outset, she began writing at 10 and continued to express her feelings in every way possible. The writings ranged between short stories, English poems, until the day she knew she became a freelance writer for a number of reputable websites and magazines in both languages. Writing Arabic articles seems to have settled in at this point in time. She’s mostly concerned with writing about marginalized groups deprived of their basic needs from a human rights angle, without slipping into pitfalls of deep political analysis. Moreover, she firmly believes in pointing out the negatives, but the balance between positives and negatives shall be maintained nonetheless, in order to keep the base visible for others to build on.
Imagine your feet gaiting into your favorite book store, enchanted you are by covers, fonts, colors, names and titles, your mind struggles to make the best bet on which book is of great worth. And if there’s a writer in you, you may split up in two; the first came for a treasure hunt and the other wonders about chances of leaving a bequest towering years of reading, learning and longing desire of sharing. At the end of the day, it’s the content we seek. And a mind ripe with fruitful thoughts should eventually see them harvested gracefully, sitting on the best-seller shelf, awaiting alive conscience and taste, for a good book is an orphan child if ever fallen in the hands of an ignorant, a racist or a poor aesthetic.
Published in Greens mag (Why Issue)