Dark Light


by Mai Serhan, Sara Elkamel, Suad Kamardeen, Ibrahim Fawzy, Nesma Gewily

The guest editorial team for Issue #6: Faith

Mai Serhan is Rowayat’s Managing Editor.

She holds an MA in Arabic Literature from the American University in Cairo and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford. She is the recipient of the Center for Book Arts Poetry Chapbook Award for, CAIRO: the undelivered letters, the Narratively Memoir Prize for Return is a Thing of Amber, and the Master’s in Creative Writing F.H. Pasby Prize from the University of Oxford.

What she’s looking for

Work that is intentional and that inches quietly towards heat at every turn. Work with a strong subject matter that is unafraid to dig deep and crack open. Work that expands the limits of language, form and genre. Work that derives its power from simple, universal truths and that is capable of relaying truths in their simplest and most inventive form. She enjoys themes of diaspora, family, gender politics, race, class, sexuality and mental health.

Suad Kamardeen is Rowayat’s Fiction Editor.

She is a British-Nigerian Muslim writer, proofreader, Head of Editorial at Amaliahhobbyist photographer, engineering graduate and a Creative Writing Masters student at the University of Oxford.

Her writing is fuelled by her desire to impact people’s lives positively, especially through storytelling. Her young adult novel, Never Enough, won the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2022 and was runner-up for FAB Prize 2021. In 2021, her adult novel was shortlisted for the Stylist Prize for Feminist Fiction 2021. Her writing has also appeared in Bad Form Review.

In 2022, Suad launched a writing community, Qalb Writers Collective, to support Black and Muslim women writers. She also co-hosts Ọrẹ Meji: Yoruba ni ṣoki, a podcast centred on embracing her mother tongue, Yoruba, and reconnecting with her heritage.

Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @suadkamardeen

Sara Elkamel is Rowayat’s Poetry Editor.

Elkamel is a poet, journalist, and translator living between Cairo and NYC. She holds an MA in arts journalism from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry from New York University. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, The Yale Review, Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, and in the anthology Best New Poets (2020 & 2022), among publications. Elkamel was named the winner of the Redivider’s 2021 Blurred Genre Contest and the Tinderbox’s 2022 Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Poetry Prize. She is the author of the chapbook “Field of No Justice” (African Poetry Book Fund & Akashic Books, 2021).

Nesma Gewily is Rowayat’s CNF and Literary Translation Editor

She holds an M.A. in Arabic Literature from the American University in Cairo and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the same field at the University of California, Berkeley. Her first travel memoir, Irth al-Hikãyah, was published by Dar Al-Shorouk in 2014. Her second book, a novel and a work in progress, traces the steps of her characters across continents and history.

What she’s looking for

Work that is rooted in our capacity to live authentically, feel our emotions, think our ideas, and wonder about our own questions. This is a challenging task in a world that floods us with ready-made images and voices. She wants this space to be one where authentic voices meet; the voice of a writer who translates life into writing and the voice of a reader who translates writing into life.

Ibrahim Fawzy is Rowayat’s Editorial Assistant 

He is an Egyptian literary translator and academic who holds an MA in Comparative Literature. He was awarded a mentorship with the National Center for Writing, UK (2022/2023). His translations, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared or are forthcoming in ArabLit QuarterlyWords Without BordersThe Markaz ReviewModern Poetry in TranslationPoetry Birmingham Literary Journal and elsewhere. He also podcasts at New Books Network. His debut book Belonging to Prison will be published by Cambridge Scholars this summer. 

What he’s looking for

Work that inspires, challenges and fascinates readers. Work that gives voices to ordinary folks and their struggles. Work whose message is language per se, and takes risk with language. He enjoys themes of resistance, belonging, diaspora and gender politics. Ibrahim wants Rowayat to be a warm, encouraging and creative space for writers and translators to outspeak their strong, deep ideas and complex emotions.

Fatima ElKalay is Rowayat’s Poetry Editor. She holds an M. Litt in Creative Writing from Central Queensland University. Her work has been shortlisted for the London Independent Story Prize and the ArabLit Story Prize for short fiction in translation. Her first collaborative collection, Dessert for Three combines fiction and memoir, and was published by Rowayat in 2022.

What she’s looking for

Work that resonates truth and distills difficult, complex emotions. Some of her favourite themes are loss, displacement, death in its many forms, belonging, freedom and injustice. She loves when a writer takes an ordinary word on an extraordinary adventure that shocks, delights, or even scares us. She enjoys hybrid forms that challenge the reader and challenge what we know about form.

tweets @FatimaWrites



Related Posts

Hip-hop is Poetry over Beats

An interview with Egyptian rapper Mohammed Eldeeb Sitting with Mohammed Eldeeb (or just Deeb) all the stereotypes and…