At its headquarters overlooking the Nile in Zamalek, the Greater Cairo Library, in cooperation with the Strategic Forum for Development and Social Peace, organised a couple of days ago a signing ceremony of the novel ‘Kingdom of the Heart’, written by Mona Zaki, AUC professor of strategic thought and head and founder of the Soft Power Foundation.
Mona Zaki at the signing ceremony of her novel (photo by Sayed Shaarawy)
At the terrace of the library, a large number of media professionals and writers were present, along with Argentinian Ambassador in Cairo Eduardo Antonio Varela and his wife, his Peruvian counterpart Paul Paredes Portella, Director General of the Giza Zoo Mohamed Ragaei, visual artist Farid Fadel, as well as a group of audience members.
It took her nearly five years to write the novel. “My study of strategic thought made me write the novel with a strategic vision in writing. Therefore, I founded the Soft Power Foundation because of my belief in the importance of soft forces in changing societies,” Zaki said.
She clarified that the novel is an expression of an Egypt that does not die through the character of Doctor Maryam, who lost her mother, father, and then her brother to addiction while living abroad, but decided to return to her native country because Egypt does not die.
Zaki announced that translated editions of the novel in Spanish, French, English, and Italian, will be available in October.
Also, after adapting the novel into a radio series that was broadcast to the public, the novel will also be made into a TV series and a movie after a period of two years, so that readers can enjoy the novel.
At the book discussion, Zaki stated that the novel was inspired by the album of songs of her daughter, singer Dalia Farid, which carries the same title. “The cover, designed by artist Nisreen El-Guindy, depicts a woman looking at the sky and there are some white rays, signifying a sign of hope,” she pointed.
The novel was discussed by Mohamed Ashmawy, managing director of Nasser Social Bank, who pointed out the importance of this novel and its interesting style. “It was able to get me out of tension, to depict an image of the heroic Egyptian woman on all levels. It also tackled the interconnected relationship between Muslims and Christians, drug addiction and prevention, along with tolerance between religions.”
Yasser Mostafa, director-general of the Greater Cairo Library in Zamalek, indicated that this novel touches upon many societal problems and solves them through love in all its forms.
Samia Abu El-Nasr, assistant editor-in-Chief of Al-Ahram newspaper and secretary-general of the Strategic Forum for Development and Social Peace, also spoke about the writer. “We must call Mona Zaki an icon of beautiful art, because she brought us back to a beautiful time, conveying topics in a refined and advanced manner, presenting her point of view without regret.”
“She displayed in the novel the different kinds of love: the love between a man and a woman, between a doctor and his patients, and between a mother and her son. She tackled issues such as divorce — whether official or unannounced — and how it leads to family disintegration. She also presented the problems of addiction and terrorism, along with role of music in education and how it disciplines behaviours.”
At the end of the ceremony, Zaki's daughter, singer Dalia Farid, mesmerised the attendees by singing excerpts of her recent album.