Children's Literature

My Cat Writes a Book

Renowned Egyptian author honored with Sawiris Cultural Award for Children Literature.

“Writing for children is not the easiest. It is a hard research work that combines the capabilities of language, science, and the ability to address the new generation”.

Ashraf Aboul-Yazid

My particular pleasure – of getting the Sawiris Cultural Award for Children Literature – is having a prominent prize, for the first time, in Egypt!

I have been awarded and honored several times around the world – 2014 Manhae Grand Prize in Literature (South Korea), 2015 Arab Journalism Award in Culture (UAE), 2021 the Gold Medal, Eurasian Literary Festival LIFFT, Istanbul (Turkey) and 2022 Medal of the Most Prominent Patrons of Literature, Pan African Writers Association, Ibadan (Nigeria) are in a long list, yet, it remains that the most important award is that you get in the presence of my wife, TV director Ftema Al Zahraa Hassan.

Writing for children is not the easiest, and it is not satisfied with the talent of narration. It is a hard research work that combines the capabilities of language, science, and the ability to address the new generation.

It is also a mirror of my biography, so I presented to children poetry, travel literature, adventure, story, and novel, all of which I addressed to adults first, before I was a special language suitable for young people, with eloquent and modern vocabulary.

Ashraf-Dali-Sindh Courier-2This particular work took a marathon time to be in the final form in the hands of the readers. After a year of research and writing, there were 900 days of waiting for publication, due to the Corona pandemic. After publishing, it was nominated for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in Children Literature, but didn’t get the award. Therefore, with the addition of the Children Literature branch to the Sawiris Cultural Awards, the chance came again to compete and win.

From the heart of reality came the idea of (My Cat Writes a Book). My family got a cat that gave birth to another, and there were two cats at home. My wife goes to work, my two daughters go to their school, and the two cats remain in my company, taking turns sitting at my desk, looking politely at what I write, so the spark of the idea came. As I believe that there is no children’s literature without science, I had to use the capabilities of science and technology to convince the readers that the cat was the one who wrote the book. The book came in two parts – the first presents the adventures and the second documents the cats’ messages to the main character cat, which are letters that mix experience and coexistence with research and reading.

Cats – from another angle – are beings that share life with us on this planet, and teach – those who own them -many good lessons. Cat breeding offers lessons in love, cleanliness, understanding those who cannot express themselves, belief in everyone’s abilities to think, and acceptance of difference.

Ashraf-Dali-Sindh Courier-1My previous experiences in children’s literature were poetry, and I was pleased that some of my poems were included in school curricula, whether in Lebanon, or in India for students of the Arabic language, or in East Africa.

Then I presented a series of adventures on the Silk Road that ran weekly for four years. My books were authored or translated. There is the story of an Egyptian painter who lived five thousand years, who tells the story of fine art in Egypt from the time of the ancient Egyptians until today. I hope that curriculum planners give it a look to teach our students the history and art of Egypt along centuries.  I was also keen on transmitting international literature to the Arabic language, such as Korean folk tales, as well as the epic poems of the Tatar poet Abdullah Tokai.


Ashraf Aboul-Yazid is an eminent writer, journalist, poet and novelist of Egypt. He is author of over three dozen books, some of them translated in various languages of the world. He is Editor-in-Chief of Silk Road Literature series.   

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button