Meet the 2016 Authors Sahar Naja Mahfouz


Sahar-Naja-MahfouzWhat are you most looking forward to at the 2016 Festival?

With the theme of ‘Time’, I allowed myself to imagine what the Festival can bring to us in its newest version. A time machine taking us to the centuries where authors and writers had their own place to show their art work? Hmm… No need, we have it here. A journey in time where we can discover the hidden works of the most famous writers? Maybe.

But to stay in the wonderful reality, I’m looking forward to meeting new faces, attend very useful sessions, be part of this celebration once again hoping for more, and mostly, be amazed by everything related to the LitFest.

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

Since childhood I had the enthusiasm to write essays and experiences in my mother tongue, but didn’t really realise that I wanted to see my own published book until recently, and by recently I mean 6 years ago, when I was encouraged by a friend to show my stories to a publishing house, and my life changed since then. I now have 19 published stories and hoping for more soon.

What book do you find yourself re-reading most often?

Many books are favourites to me, but I like to be surprised while reading a book, and that’s why I read it once and keep it in my library as a reference or inspiration. I love non-fiction books and feel myself relate to them.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

I actually was a banker and was satisfied with my career, until I discovered the other side of me. But now I can say if I wasn’t a writer I would have been an editor giving opinions and ideas to a writer.

And finally, we have a number of aspiring writers attending the Festival. What one piece of advice would you give them?

As an expert in the Festival now, I advise all the aspiring writers to widen their social network during the Festival; it’s a one-time opportunity to meet some people and you might not have this chance again. I also advise them all to plan for the sessions and workshops, to take advantage of every event and to listen with open minds and ears to different opinions.