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The challenge of the novel

On March 29th, ADTV announced in a press conference that it will be producing a TV series based on the award-winning novel “Zakirat AlJasad” (The Memory of the Body) for ramadan 2010. The novel was published in 1993 and went on to win the Naguib Mahfooz prize and sell several million copies (which is no mean feat in the Arab world).

Converting a successful work of print into a television drama will not be easy. We certainly have a great team on board with the writer Ahlam Mustaghanmi, director Najdat Anzour, the scriptwriter Reem Hanna, and the actor Jamal Sleiman. It took a long time to get this project off the ground and I hope it will help bring an intense story to television audiences who are mostly used to lighter fare. The work will also be in classical Arabic, a departure from the current and past dubbing fads but the only choice that will do the poetic original justice.

Every reader will have developed their own visualisation of this novel and it will certainly be impossible to please them all. More importantly we hope to bring this work to millions who have not read the book.

There was a humorous yet poignant point made by the writer Ahlam Mustaghanmi: Shortly after she published her novel, she was interviewed by a magazine. They published a three page article, but readers started sending in inquiries because they couldn’t identify the book being discussed. It turns out the magazine censors had erased the word “body”, found in the book’s title, every time they came across it!

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