- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Random House Canada; Canadian First edition (Nov. 15 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345816358
- ISBN-13: 978-0345816351
- Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.3 x 24.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 640 g
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #148,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Marriott Cell: An Epic Journey from Cairo's Scorpion Prison to Freedom Hardcover – Nov 15 2016
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Finalist for the 2017 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize (BC Book Awards)
Longlisted for the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize
“The story . . . is stomach-turning in places. The writing is masterful.” —Diplomat & International Canada
“The Marriott Cell is a gripping, fast-paced read, as one would expect from a story about a journalist in Egypt who suddenly finds himself terrifyingly and wrongfully incarcerated in a notorious prison next to the very people about whom he had been reporting. But it’s worth pausing to recognize how masterful storytelling can add momentum to an already engrossing narrative. Award-winning Egyptian Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, with the help of Carol Shaben, nails the art of pacing. The team’s ability to maintain momentum is a rarity among books written by journalists about their experience reporting on—even being caught up in—moments of intense conflict. Too often, such books are engaging and interesting, but squander their momentum by devoting giant chunks of text to providing background detail without any sustaining narrative. Not The Marriott Cell. . . . [C]ompelling.” —J-Source
“[A] frightening account of his years of imprisonment, which should be a footnote in future history books on the jihadi struggle in the Middle East.” —The Independent
“[A] compelling and sensational account of [Fahmy’s] imprisonment and his fight for freedom.” —The Hill Times
“Urgent, wise, readable, and at times very moving, the authors have successfully rebooted what has quickly become a stale Canadian mini-genre. . . . Fahmy was a reporter long before he was a prisoner and he’d experienced the worst of the recent Middle Eastern conflagrations and their subsequent fallout. He thus knows that his story is the wire frame for a much larger encounter: This book is about the great, bloody unwinding of his homeland. . . . Apart from functioning as a stirring memoir and a deeply personal meditation on the nature of conjoined identities (every immigrant’s bane), Fahmy’s and Shaben’s book also functions as one of the more concise history of the Egyptian revolution I’ve yet read. Having reported his way so deeply through the events leading up to his arrest, there’s very little Fahmy didn’t experience first-hand, and few of the major (and, more interestingly, minor) players he didn’t encounter. The writing is lucid, and his reportorial nous never flags, even when terrible things are happening.” —Richard Poplak, author of Braking Bad, The Globe and Mail
“Mohamed Fahmy has just published a remarkable memoir, The Marriott Cell: An Epic Journey from Cairo’s Scorpion Prison to Freedom. It’s a gripping, compelling and insightful book . . . that takes us behind the headlines into what it was really like for Mr. Fahmy and those around him.” —Joseph Planta, founding editor of thecommentary.ca (interview)
About the Author
MOHAMED FAHMY, a dual Canadian-Egyptian citizen lives in Vancouver and works as an adjunct professor at UBC. He has reported on the Middle East and North Africa for CNN, the LA Times, and BBC. In 2011 he and his CNN associates were honored with a Peabody Award for the network's coverage of the Arab Spring; he also co-authored the photo documentary Egyptian Freedom Story. In 2012 he won The Tom Renner Investigative Reporting Award for producing the CNN Freedom Project documentary series Death in the Desert, which exposed the trafficking of Sub-Sahara Africans to Israel through Sinai-Egypt. He was appointed Al Jazeera English Bureau Chief in 2013. He is the recipient of the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom Award from UNESCO. He and his wife, Marwa Omara, founded the Fahmy Foundation NGO in 2015, dedicated to providing financial assistance and advocating on behalf of imprisoned journalists and photographers around the world.
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I found the book a valuable contribution to my attempt of understanding what transpired in Egypt during the Arab Spring and its aftermath that brought President el-Sisi to power.
Fahmy was imprisoned for his reporting, and endured a roller-coaster of emotions during his incarceration, graphic accounts of which form the main part of the book.
Now safely back in Canada, his experience compels Fahmy to promote the safety of journalists conducting objective reporting throughout the world. His activities are widely supported and reported on.
His professionalism in evaluating the role of journalists holds a message for all of us: “We no longer live in a world where we can afford to be passive recipients of news, whether from a major network or from social media”.
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