Karim Alrawi of Vancouver was in Tahir Square in January, 2011 to support the pro-democracy uprising in his native land. In a room overlooking the square in Cairo, with two million pro-democracy demonstrators below, Alrawi had a bird's-eye-view as government thugs threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at protestors who sheltered behind barricades of iron sheeting.

Protestors erected a tent city within Tahrir Square until the dictator Hosni Mubarak finally resigned. During three weeks of protests, performers maintained a carnival-like atmosphere to maintain morale. Teams of young people cleaned the square daily. As protestors were killed, posters were made of the martyrs and hung from buildings and lampposts.

Alrawi was in Cairo putting the finishing touches on his new children's book, The Mouse Who Saved Egypt (Tradewind $16.95), illustrated by Bee Willey. It's a teaching tale of kindness, showing how even a small creature can be heroic as a mouse saves ancient Egypt in an unexpected way.

His first novel, Book of Sands: A Novel of the Arab Uprising (Harper Avenue, 2015) is set amid the upheaval of the Arab Spring in 2011. It is not only about social and political revolution but also about living honestly and with grace during times of chaos. Book of Sands won the inaugural HarperCollins/UBC prize for Best New Fiction.

In 2021, Alrawi published Arab Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook (Tradewind $29.95) the title in the "Fairy Tale Feasts" series in which prominent writers of diverse cultures create enchanting tales paired with traditional recipes easily accessible to young cooks and their families.

Born-and-raised in Alexandria, Alrawi lived in England where he was writer-in-residence at the Royal Court Theatre and the Theatre Royal Stratford East. He has also worked as writer-in-residence at Meadow Brook Theatre in the U.S. He has written more than 30 professionally produced plays. He currently supervises international aid and development programs in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Alrawi completed an MFA at UBC.


The Mouse Who Saved Egypt (Tradewind, 2011) $16.95 978-1-896580-79-1

Book of Sands: A Novel of the Arab Uprising (Harper Avenue, 2015) $29.99 978-1-44343-445-4

Arab Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook (Tradewind, 2021) $29.95 978-1623719081. Illustrations by Nahid Kazemi. Recipes by Sobhi al-Zobaidi & Tamam Qanembou-Zobaidi (owners of Tamam Restaurant in Vancouver) and Karim Alrawi.

[BCBW 2021]