Waguih Ghali was born in Cairo on February 25th, most likely in 1930. He attended high school in Alexandria and then studied abroad in Europe. Fearing political persecution, he fled Egypt in 1958 and lived in London, also spending time in France, Sweden, and Germany. Ghali authored several personal essays, which appeared in The Guardian between 1957 and 1965. He also spent time as a freelance journalist, reporting for the Times of London and the BBC. Following a battle with depression, Ghali committed suicide in London, at the home of his friend and editor Diana Athill, in 1969. Beer in the Snooker Club is his only finished novel.
"One of the best novels about Egypt ever written."
"Like The Catcher in the Rye in America, [Beer in the
Snooker Club] articulated the identity crisis of a generation.
. . . [The novel] presents uncanny parallels to today's Egypt,
where artists, intellectuals and youth at large are beginning to
fashion a new cultural republic of sorts even as they also struggle
to find their bearings."
--The New York Times "[Ghali is] a plainspoken writer of consummate wryness, grace and humor."
--Los Angeles Times
"[The] novel reproduces a cultural state of shock with great accuracy and great humor."
--The Nation "A triumph of genuinely comic social satire."
--The Times Literary Supplement (London)