Interview with longlisted author Youssef Fadel


When did you begin writing The Life of Butterflies and where did the inspiration for it come from?
I began writing The Life of Butterflies in 2017. I sometimes base my writing on an actual event. In this case, it was the musician who was forced by the perpetrators of the coup d’état to recite the military statement of the coup. Several decades have gone by since that event, so when did I think of writing about it? Maybe it was when I was listening to his music. I have listened to it so many times over the years without feeling an impulse to write about what happened. Or maybe it was when someone talked about him or played his music. 

Did the novel take long to write and where were you when you finished it?
It took two and a half years to write. My usual habit when writing is to go to my house on the shore of the Mediterranean. There, I find the right atmosphere to finish the work.  

How have readers and critics received it? 
Reactions have been limited to pages in some newspapers. I think that the epidemic has been partly responsible for the lack of promotion of books in general. 

What is your next literary project after this novel?
I am at an advanced stage in my new work.