Thu 18 February 2016
6.30 p.m.-9.00 p.m.
Waterstone's Piccadilly, 203/206 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HD


In conversation with Gaby Wood 



Join us in opening up the secrets of

The Book of the Sultan's Seal: 

Strange Incidents from History in the City of Mars


Paul StarkeyThe Book of the Sultan's Seal Youssef Rakha

"Published at the height of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011, The Book of the Sultan’s Seal is one of the most adventurous and innovative novels to have appeared in Arabic in recent years and its English version is a tour de force of translation . . . "

"Via a series of erratic (and on occasion, erotic) journeys through his Cairo, which is at once ancient and modern, the novel's protagonist Mustafa Çorbaci wrestles with the dilemmas of identity which beset this journalist, intellectual and aspiring artist."


Celebrate the power of literary translation with Gaby Wood,

winning translator Paul Starkey and his author Youssef Rakha


The evening will be introduced by Paul Blezard
and include readings from the novel, Q&A, and a book signing. 

Copies of The Book of the Sultan's Seal will be on sale
A reception will open the evening at 6.30pm 

This is a free event, but please reserve your seat by emailing

• To link to Waterstone's webpage for the event, click here

• For all information on the results of the 2015 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation click here

• For general information about the prize, click here

• For more on the winner Paul Starkey, click here and here

• For more on the author Youssef Rakha, click here, and see his own website here

Banipal Trust logo  Waterstone's Piccadilly

The evening is hosted by the Banipal Trust for Arab Literature and Waterstone's Piccadilly