In Egypt today there are few artists who occupy the crosshairs of politics and art as Alaa al-Aswany.
His best-selling novel The Yacoubian Building stripped bare the exasperation, frustration and desires of Egyptian society.
Originally published in 2002 and made into a movie, the book portrayed the anguish and hopelessness felt by a cross-section of Egyptians living in a Cairo apartment block.
Their discontent was later echoed in the real-life uprising against Hosni Mubarak.
The central character in the movie was played by Adel Imam, one of the Middle East’s most prominent actors who was recently prosecuted and sentenced to a three month prison sentence – according to the charge sheet – for offending Islam.
The sentence is on appeal but the case raised questions about the position of art in a shifting political and social landscape.
On this episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, we speak to Alaa al-Aswany, who continues to insist that he is no politician but who recently came out in support of a new political party launched by Mohammed el Baradei – a party intended to present a viable and secular alternative to the parties of the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultra-Conservative Salafi movement that dominate Egypt’s new parliament.
||This episode of Talk to Al Jazeera can be seen on Al Jazeera English at the following times GMT:
Saturday, May 26: 0430
Sunday, May 27: 0830, 1930
Monday, May 28: 1430
Click here for more Talk to Al Jazeera