Aug 2012 10

by Alex Dueben

“I wanted it to be the kind of book that I love to read”
– G. Willow Wilson

G Willow Wilson first made a name for herself in comics in 2007 when the graphic novel Cairo which she wrote was published by Vertigo. It made quite a splash, combining fantasy and realism in an attempt to capture life in Egypt’s capital city. She followed it up with the series Air, which was illustrated by her Cairo collaborator M.K. Perker. Her other comics work includes Superman, The Outsiders, Vixen, and most recently Mystic. She’s also published nonfiction in many places including The Atlantic Monthly and The New York Times. In 2010 her memoir The Butterfly Mosque, was published about her move after college to Cairo where she met her future husband and came to fall in love with the country.

Her new book, Alif the Unseen, is her first novel. It tells the story of a hacker in an unnamed Arab Gulf country, and involves the jinn, a battle with the state security services overseen by “The Hand,” the nature of storytelling, the power of the internet and climaxes in a revolution. It’s also a book that was written before The Arab Spring erupted last year. We caught up with Wilson and spoke about the book and the current political climate in the Middle East following the Egyptian Presidential election.

Read our exclusive interview with G. Willow Wilson on