Who would protest in heaven?
It is an almost unspeakble joy to announce the launch of You Must Believe in Spring a debut novel by the wonderful Mohamed Tonsy, from the tremendous Hajar Press Join us for a night of heart-full, rebellious storytelling and discussion!
Twenty years after the revolution, a young Egyptian, Shahed, toes the line between the country’s two major factions: he is both a disciple of the national Sufi institute and a swimmer representing the Egyptian Armed Forces.
During a nationwide military lockdown, Shahed is called by the army on a mission—he must transfer Sheikh Nizam, a jailed Sufi saint, from prison to a soldiers’ barracks in the Sinai, where the sheikh is due to deliver a sermon. But alongside his official assignment, Shahed is engaged in a parallel operation on behalf of a rebel group to protest the army’s oppressive rule over Egypt.
Unsure of whom to trust, Shahed wades through murky tales of the past in a new utopia built for a privileged few. Navigating family history, childhood relationships and the weight of a country’s trauma, he grapples to find ways to revolt—for life and for freedom.
Mo Tonsy is a queer Egyptian writer and ceramicist. Formerly an architect and triathlete representing the Egyptian Triathlon Federation, he completed a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. His writing has appeared in Mizna and Epoch Press and was shortlisted in MFest’s 2021 Short Story Competition. You Must Believe in Spring is his first novel.
Esa Aldegheri is a multilingual writer, educator and researcher. She studied Arabic at the University of Edinburgh and now works at the University of Glasgow supporting the integration of people seeking sanctuary in Scotland. Her non-fiction debut Free to Go moves beyond the parameters of a simple travel narrative to explore different aspects of freedom and borders, both geopolitical and personal. It is a story about travelling from Orkney to New Zealand on a motorbike shared with a willing companion, interwoven with a parallel tale of diminished liberties linked to the author’s experiences of motherhood, Brexit and pandemic restrictions. Esa’s non-fiction writing has also been published by Granta, Gutter Press, the Dangerous Women Project and others. Her poetry has been read on Radio 4 and Radio Scotland and features in several anthologies. She is from Scotland and Italy, and lives with her family by the sea near Edinburgh.