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 is set in a fantastical Cairo where wishes are literally for sale; the catch is that the more expensive the wish, the more powerful–and therefore the more likely to work as intended. Shubeik Lubeik’s three distinct parts tell the story of Azia, Nour and Shokry, who each grapple with the challenge inherent in trying to make your most deeply held desire come true.
Working-class Aziza learned early that life would be hard; but when she loses her beloved husband and manages to procure a first-class wish after years of labor, she finds herself fighting the powers that be for the most basic of human rights: the right to have, and make, a wish; Nour is a privileged college student who secretly struggles with depression; when a wish comes their way, non-binary Nour–whose pregnant mother may have inadvertently blurred Nour’s gender in her eagerness to determine it–must decide whether or not to try to “fix” their depression; and finally Shokry, kiosk owner and purveyor of the wishes, must grapple with his religious convictions and whether or not to use his last wish to save his friend, the beloved neighborhood matriarch dying of lung cancer.
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