Award-winning Arabic graphic novel trilogy, Shubeik Lubeik, by Egyptian author and illustrator Deena Mohamed will soon be available in English. The three-part work tells the story of three Cairo residents who must grapple with the challenges of living in a world where wishes are bought and sold.
It has been a few years since the rights for an English translation was sold to Pantheon Books in 2018, but a release date for the US release has been set for January 10, 2021.
The art of Mohamed’s graphic novel is a visual treat to look at. While we eagerly await a full translation, we can see from the snippets of the story that it skillfully taps into aspects of Egyptian culture while also grappling with difficult topics like mental and physical health, gender, human rights, and religion.
See the full synopsis below:
Shubeik Lubeik—a fairy tale rhyme that means “your wish is my command” in Arabic—is the story of three people who are navigating a world where wishes are literally for sale. Mired in bureaucracy and the familiar prejudices of our world, the wishes are more likely to work as intended the more expensive they are.
Three wishes that are sold at an unassuming kiosk in Cairo link Aziza, Nour, and Shokry, changing their perspectives as well as their lives. Aziza learned early that life can be hard, but when she loses her husband and manages to procure a wish, she finds herself fighting bureaucracy and inequality for the right to have—and make—that wish. Nour is a privileged college student who secretly struggles with depression and must decide whether or not to use their wish to try to “fix” this depression, and then figure out how to do it. And, finally, Shokry must grapple with his religious convictions as he decides how to help a friend who doesn’t want to use their wish.
Although their stories are fantastical—featuring talking donkeys, dragons, and cars that can magically avoid traffic—each of these people grapples with the very real challenge of trying to make their most deeply held desires come true.
Deena Mohamed is an Egyptian illustrator, designer, and author. She first began making comics at 18, with her webcomic titled Qahera. Outside of the graphic novel and comics, Mohamed has also participated in a variety of art exhibitions including the “Contemporary Arab Comics” exhibit at the Museum of Comics in Angoulême, L’Escale (Angoulême, 2017), Superheroes Wanted (Berlin, 2018) and Arts, Activism and Research (York, 2018) and A Sea of Illustrators (Valencia, 2019).
Pre-Order Shubeik Lubeik: Amazon