Ahdaf Soueif is a writer and political commentator

Writer and activist Ahdaf Soueif to speak at MA Conference 

Simon Stephens, 31.07.2019

British-Egyptian commentator recently resigned as British Museum trustee 

Ahdaf Soueif, who recently resigned as a trustee of London’s British Museum in protest at the institution’s position on issues such as sponsorship, outsourcing and repatriation, will give a keynote talk at this year’s Museums Association Conference & Exhibition in Brighton (3-5 October). 

The British-Egyptian writer, activist and cultural and political commentator was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1999 for the bestselling The Map of Love, which has been translated into more than 30 languages. Her account of the 2011 Egyptian revolution, Cairo: My City, Our Revolution, was published in 2012 and a second edition, Cairo: a City Transformed, came out in 2014.  

Soueif was a trustee at the British Museum from 2012 until her resignation. In a blog post announcing her decision to step down, she wrote: “Public cultural institutions have a responsibility: not only a professional one towards their work, but a moral one in the way they position themselves in relation to ethical and political questions. 

“The world is caught up in battles over climate change, vicious and widening inequality, the residual heritage of colonialism, questions of democracy, citizenship and human rights. On all these issues the museum needs to take a clear ethical position.” 

Soueif regularly writes for The Guardian and from 2011 to 2015 she had a weekly column in the Arabic-language national daily, al-Shorouk, in Egypt.  

Soueif co-founded the Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) which takes place annually in the cities of occupied Palestine and Gaza. She is a trustee of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.  

In October 2019 Soueif will be honoured with the European Cultural Foundation’s Princess Margriet Award for Culture.

The Museums Association Annual Conference & Exhibition takes place on 3-5 October in Brighton. Early bird booking closes at midnight on 31 July