Egyptian Dystopias of the 21st Century

A new literary trend?


  • Barbara Bakker Department for Languages, Literature and Learning, Dalarna University, Falun/SE



During the first two decades of the 21st century an increasing amount of narratives termed as Arabic dystopian fiction appeared on the Arabic literary scene, with a greater part authored by Egyptian writers. However, what characterises/marks a work as a dystopia? This paper investigates the dystopian nature of a selection of Egyptian literary works within the frame of the dystopian narrative tradition. The article begins by introducing the features of the traditional literary dystopias as they will be used in the analysis. It then gives a brief overview of the development of the genre in the Arabic literature. The discussion that follows highlights common elements and identifies specific themes in six Egyptian novels selected for the analysis, thereby highlighting differences and similarities between them and the traditional Western dystopias. The article calls for a categorisation of Arabic dystopian narrative that takes into consideration social, political, historical and cultural factors specific for the Arabic in general, and Egyptian in particular, literary field.

Keywords: Arabic literature, dystopia, dystopian literature, contemporary literature, Egypt, fiction, speculative fiction.




How to Cite

Bakker, B. (2021). Egyptian Dystopias of the 21st Century: A new literary trend?. Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies, 21(1), 79–94.