Monday, November 10, 2014

Candygirl Author Gives Lecture on Imagination and The Reader

By Maghie Ghali, Amr Zaghloul and Menna Abdelbaky

Here are some selected audio highlights from the lecture:

A slide show featuring photos taken at the event:

Selected clips from the lecture:

Mohamed Tawfik, Egypt’s ambassador to the United States gave a lecture on Thursday Nov. 6 about his novel Candygirl at The American University in Cairo (AUC), to talk about imagination as part of the One Book, One Conversation, One community Reading Initiative.
Tawfik began by talking about his early experiences with Egyptian workers and how they would tell stories and enjoy new tales, “one day they discovered I had traveled out of Egypt and I would tell them stories about Paris; about Vienna.” Due to these experiences Tawfik saw the wonder of storytelling and it inspired him to tell his own, leading to him becoming an author who has written several books.
As the lecture progressed, Tawfik’s main topic was presented. He talked of the creative interactions between the author and the reader, believing that “the act of reading is essentially an act of creation.” What the reader imagines is almost more important than what the author envisions.
Furthermore, imagination and knowledge were two concepts that were also addressed by Tawfik. He stated that “regarding the element of imagination, a good novel for me is like a good symphony.” An important aspect is the way imagination is used, especially when talking about cultural stories. His novels are “set in densely populated, noisy Egyptian backgrounds” to give a multitude of sense to explore.
The section on knowledge explored the idea that “what is important is how humans interact and react” to things like books and media. Tawfik also covered issues of translating Arabic to English and the loss of meaning. However, he saw it as “a different way of looking at your own work.”
After the lecture, a Q&A session took place with Tawfik and the audience members. Rhetoric and Composition professor George Marquis was personally not a fan of the novel and felt that “inspiration is more than just a few words of wisdom.”

In relation to upcoming projects, Tawfik said he would be taking time to attend to his political duties for a few years to come.

Other events as part of the One Book, One Conversation, One community Reading Initiative will be taking place throughout the semester as well as another lecture with Tawfik on Wednesday Nov. 12.

A Storify to show the Tweets posted while covering the lecture:

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