VCLA Author Series: Ahmed Naji - Using Life @ Handley Library
Using Life is a riotous novel about a failing state, a corrupt city, a hypocritical authority, but it is also about tequila shots and getting laid and smoking weed with your infuriating girlfriend and debating whether rock music died in the Seventies and if Quentin Tarantino is a genius or a fraud. It's a young man's book. A young man whose youth is colliding with a dark moment in history.
The Virginia Center for Literary Arts Author Series at Handley Regional Library continues with Egyptian novelist and journalist Ahmed Naji. Naji will read from his work and discuss the ordeal of being imprisoned for “violating public modesty,” as a result of calculated outrage based on an excerpt from his novel Using Life. VCLA’s Founding Director Sean Murphy and the author will discuss the ways Naji’s experiences have informed his fiction and journalism, and the ways his life has—and has not—changed since becoming a literary and political cause célèbre. Copies of his book will be available for sale and signing. This is a free event!
Upon its initial release in Arabic in the fall of 2014, Using Life received acclaim in Egypt and the wider Arab world. But in 2016, Ahmed Naji was sentenced to two years in prison after a reader complained that an excerpt published in a literary journal harmed public morality. His imprisonment marks the first time in modern Egypt that an author has been jailed for a work of literature.