When the 2011 revolution broke out in Egypt. Alrawi booked a flight to Cairo. “I felt I’d been part of what led up to it,” he says. “It was only right that I should be there.” During the 18 days of protests that brought down President Hosni Mubarak, Alrawi lived in an apartment overlooking Tahrir Square and worked with an Egyptian human-rights organization to document the deaths of protestors. When he returned home to Vancouver, he knew what his novel needed to be about.

From my profile of Egyptian-Canadian writer Karim Alrawi in the November issue of Quill & Quire.