The child of an outspoken Libyan dissident on attending boarding school in England. "I was to pretend that my mother was Egyptian and my father American. It was thought that this would explain, to any Arabs in the school, why my Arabic was Egyptian and why my English was American. My first name was Bob. Ziad chose it because both he and I were fans of Bob Marley and Bob Dylan."
PUBLISHED: Feb. 26, 2011
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2999 words)
[Fiction, 2012 Pen/O. Henry Winner] A son recalls an exiled life with his father, mother, and a maid:
"At the Magda Marina, he spent his time sunbathing and reading fat books: one on the Suez Crisis, one a biography of our late king, with his portrait on the cover. Whenever Father acquired a new book on our country—the country my parents had fled, the country I had never seen, yet continued to think of as my own—he would immediately finger the index pages.
"'Baba, who are you looking for?' I once asked.
"He shook his head and said, 'No one.'
"But later I, too, searched the indexes. It felt like pure imitation. It was not until I encountered my father’s name—Kamal Pasha el-Alfi—that I realized what I was looking for."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 4, 2011
LENGTH: 30 minutes (7646 words)