A gripping and caustic novel about the place and role of religious figures in the globalized Arab media. The new page-turner by bestselling opposition journalist and novelist Ibrahim Essa tackles the controversial widespread phenomenon of "satellite TV sheikhs". He unravels the secret relationships between the different sheikhs and their links to politics, the security services, and the business world. With the characteristic irony of its author, this engaging novel takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride through the secret alliances between power, finance and the media in Egypt today.
Born in 1965, Ibrahim Essa is Egypt’s leading independent editor, and has been described as a "one-man barometer of Egypt’s struggle for political and civic freedom". Throughout his career, he has faced prosecution when his push for media freedom has fallen foul of the government. In 2010, he was fired from his position as editor of the independent newspaper Al Dostur, after new owners bought the paper; his popular satellite talk show was also taken off air. His sacking came in the midst of a wider media crackdown in the run-up to the parliamentary elections, when Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party emerged victorious amid accusations of unprecedented vote rigging.
When Essa was sacked from his job last year, the novelist Alaa al Aswany wrote: "Ibrahim Essa did not oppose the government; he opposed the system. He called for real democratic change through free and fair elections and regular change at the top." Mowlana is his seventh novel.
Essa was awarded the WAN-IFRA Gebran Tueni Prize in 2008, the International Journalist of the Year Award by the British Society of Editors in 2010, and the Guardian Journalism Award (INDEX Freedom of Expression Awards) in 2011.