We are increasingly becoming a multilingual society. Meanwhile, the publishing world offers very little for aspiring writers in languages other than Arabic. They find it incredibly hard to get published or known to the local audience. It also becomes frustrating that everything available in these other languages has nothing to do with our own culture.
Identifying this problem and hoping to bridge the gap between Egypt, Arabs and the rest of the world, Rowayat offers what it calls ‘hybrid’ (writing in a non-native language) writers and artists a safe publishing space and the experience of being introduced to an audience. It wants to give space to people writing from Egypt, and to offer material on Egypt and Egyptians to others across the globe with its international distribution. A quarterly English journal, it publishes flash fiction, poetry and short stories from hybrid writers and foreigners in Egypt. The website also has non-fiction entries and book reviews. Its issues are usually centered on a main theme, and pay homage to someone or something – their last issue in September was a special tribute to Tunisia. Rowayat also publishes original artwork on its pages.
Though open to anyone who wants to contribute in Egypt, Egyptian or not, Rowayat is particularly encouraging of young talent.
Rowayat holds regular contests before each of its issues for young artists. There have been contests for children aged 8-14, high school and university students. In fact, its third issue was a special edition devoted to work by 8-14 year olds. Competitions are usually based on a certain theme for the upcoming issue and include submissions in one of its three writing categories: flash fiction, short stories or poetry, as well as artwork. Winners are announced and given their prizes in a special ceremony, and their entries are published in the next issue.
Rowayat also provides more exposure to the audience through its E-Shop, where it offers its old issues, subscriptions as well as its exclusive artwork. Shop their publications at Diwan, or check their Facebook page to stay up to date and get writing tips.