The Lyrical Realist
Karim Alrawi was born in Egypt, lived in London and then moved to Vancouver. His play Migrations won the Samuel Beckett award in the UK, and he became Literary Manager of the Theatre Royal Stratford and later Resident Writer at the Royal Court Theatre, London. His play Fire in the Lake won the Edinburgh Fringe Festival First Award for Best Stage Play. He returned to Egypt to teach theatre, but was arrested by Egyptian State Security for his writing work and his involvement with the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR). When he was released he moved to the US on a Fulbright Scholarship and went on to hold various media related positions including Editor in Chief of Arabica Magazine, Director of International Programs for Canadian Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society and Executive Director of the US-Arab Economic Forum. An internationally respected speaker on issues of freedom of expression, Alrawi delivered the keynote lecture in honour of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei at the 2012 edition of Art Basel. His first novel Book of Sands set in the Arab Spring revolution is published this year (2015) and won the HarperCollins/UBC Best New Fiction award.