Montaser Abdel Rahman, also known as Montaser Abdel Mawgoud, is an award-winning poet and novelist from Alexandria, Egypt. He gained his bachelor degree in education in Arabic language and literature in 1994, from Alexandria University, and has taught in secondary schools since 1995.
The City of Trondheim welcomes Montaser Abdel Rahman at the Public Library on 6 February at 6.30 PM, where he will do a poetry reading and be interviewed on stage.
Abdel Mawgoud is well known in literary circles, and has participated in various international literary festivals. He has three poetry books: Thamat Ashiaa Ian Yogrebha (There are Things That Will Never Be Tried) in 2012; Al Haneen Sallat Al Mafqoodat (Nostalgia as a Basket of Loss), 2010; and Huroob wa Haza’em (Wars and Losses), 2004. A number of his poems have also been published in Arabic literary websites, including: arabworldbooks.com; Elaph.com; kikah.com, amongst others, and included in some newspapers such as Akhbar Al Adab (Cairo), Al Hayat (London), and Mina magazine (USA).
Abdel Mawgoud also writes pieces of literary criticism on Arabic poetry, and articles on religious issues and the lives and experiences of other Egyptian poets and activists, including Omar Hazek and Yara Sallam, both of whom were imprisoned due to their activities in support of human rights in Egypt.
After the publication of his last book of poems There are Things That Will Never Be Tried in 2012, Montaser Abdel Mawgoud was accused of blasphemy and atheism by fellow teachers in the school where he worked as a teacher of Arabic language and literature. In this book, Abdel Mawgoud deals with matters of creation and the relation between man and god, and retells the key events from the Qur’an and the Bible, featuring the interactions and struggles of the heroes and anti-heroes of the religious scripture, starting with God, Satan and Adam. He has since received threats on a daily basis and been asked by his publisher to withdraw his books as the book caused his other books unable to sell.
Programme Director in ICORN, Elisabeth Dyvik, says:
We are relieved that Montaser Abdulrahman and his family have arrived safely in Trondheim. Abdulrahman is one of many writers, journalist and bloggers around the world who are accused of blasphemy simply for touching upon religious motifs in their writing. The blasphemy laws in Egypt are notorious for the harshness of their penalties and the vagueness or precision of the offence, giving the accused very little legal protection. In addition, people accused of blasphemy are often victims of threats and attacks from religious fundamentalists. We hope Abdulrahman will continue his writing, and that his poetry will reach an even larger audience.
Montaser Abdel Mawgoud says:
I’ll never forget my first night in Trondheim! The first night I slept safely, a deep and comfortable sleep! Sure, in this time Trondheims weather is cold, but it’s people are warm. The city has a great and active litterature scene, rich in cultural events. I’m sure Trondheim is a good place for writers. I’m lucky to complete my life here. Here I dream of publishing the 2 books of poetry and the novel I could not publish in Egypt. I have some ideas to write new books. I hope to learn the Norwegian language as this is an important step in becoming a part of my new society. I also dream of creating an International Poetry Center, with a poetical library, a residency for poets from all over the world, various events and festivals as well as awards to young Norwegian poets for their first poetry books.