Rotten Evidence: Reading and Writing in an Egyptian Prison by Ahmed Nadi, Translated by Katharine Halls
In February 2016, Ahmed Naji was sentenced to two years in prison for "violating public modesty," after an excerpt of his novel Using Life reportedly caused a reader to experience heart palpitations. Naji ultimately served ten months of that sentence, in a group cell block in Cairo's Tora Prison.
How does one secure a steady supply of fresh vegetables without refrigeration? How does one write and revise a novel in a single notebook? Fight boredom? Build a clothes hanger? Negotiate with the chief of intelligence? And, most crucially, how does one make sense of a senseless oppression: finding oneself in prison for the act of writing fiction. Genuine and defiant, this book stands as a testament to the power of the creative mind, in the face of authoritarian censorship.