Main content

Arabian Nights

Anne McElvoy discusses literature and art in the Arabic world with novelist Alaa Al Aswany, curator Rose Issa, writer Marina Warner and historian Robert Irwin.

Anne McElvoy's joined by Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany, author of The Yacoubian Building, to discuss writing in the contemporary Arabic world and the continuing influence of stories from 1000 years ago. Joining him are Rose Issa, a Lebanese/Iranian curator of Arabic art and film and two British experts on The Arabian Nights: Robert Irwin, who introduces a new, English translation of a medieval fantasy collection and Marina Warner, whose interests stretch from Scheherazade to a new collection of Scottish fantasies.

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

43 minutes

Robert Irwin

Robert Irwin is a historian, novelist and writer on Arabic literature.

Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange, translated by Malcolm C. Lyons and introduced by Robert Irwin, is published by Penguin Classics.

Alaa Al Aswany

Alaa Al Aswany is a writer. 

Democracy is the Answer: Egypt’s Years of Revolution will be published in January by Gingko Library.

Democracy is the Answer

Marina Warner

Marina Warner is a novelist, critic and cultural historian.

Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale is published by Oxford University Press.

The Fourth Pig by Naomi Mitchison, with a new introduction by Marina Warner, is published by Princeton University Press.

Marina Warner

Rose Issa

Rose Issa is a curator, writer and producer.

The exhibition What Remains is at Rose Issa Projects in London until 19 December.

Rose Issa


Role Contributor
Presenter Anne McElvoy
Interviewed Guest Alaa Al Aswany
Interviewed Guest Rose Issa
Interviewed Guest Robert Irwin
Producer Simon Tillotson