Youssef Rakha is a novelist and poet who writes in both Arabic and English. His interests include amateur pornography in the Arab world and the possibility of a post-Muslim perspective.
Born, raised and based in Cairo, he graduated from Hull University, England, in 1998, and has worked as a cultural journalist and literary translator since then. His 2006 photo travelogue Beirut Shi Mahal was nominated for the Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage, and he was among the 39 best Arab writers under 40 selected for the Hay Festival Beirut39 Festival in 2010.
His first novel, The Book of the Sultan’s Seal, translated by Paul Starkey, won the 2015 Banipal Seif Ghobash Prize and his third, Paulo, was on the long list of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2017 and won the 2017 Sawiris Award.
His exhibition Cairo-Alexandria/Berlin was held at the Goethe-Institut Cairo in 2006. He has since published his photography in various outlets, providing cover art for his and other books. His photography, like his writing, focuses on Cairo.