February 1, 2023
10.00 Inches (US)
7.00 Inches (US)
$44.95 USD, £33.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference


Ibn Tulun's City Without Walls

An award-winning Egyptian novelist brings alive the lost history of Ibn Tulun and his vision for a diverse and unified Egypt that is brimming with intrigue, adventure, and romance

Al-Qata'i: The Ibn Tulun Trilogy tells the epic story of visionary Egyptian leader Ahmad Ibn Tulun who built Al-Qata'i, which became the foundation of Cairo, into a thriving multicultural empire. This gripping story follows the intertwined histories of Al-Qata'i and its people including the voices of those often unrepresented in history books, from the strong female characters to those with diverse of religious identities, social classes, and ethnic and cultural origins.

Bassiouney gives voices to traditionally marginalized people weaving their perspectives into the narrative offering an unusual lens on centuries old history. The stories of Ibn Tulun's secretary, wife, and arch-enemy, for instance, reveal a different side of the successful ruler and a fresh way of looking at the historical record. They recount a leader fully focused on achieving his goals, but unable to see the impact his single-mindedness has on his own family or how it threatens to be his undoing. As his empire grows, this trouble brews at home.] When a betrayal speeds Ibn Tulun's demise, the Abbasid caliph soon threatens to regain control of Al-Qata'i'. In the aftermath of her father's death, Ibn Tulun's daughter Aisha emerges as a pivotal figure bravely taking a stand against the Abbasids. She must not only fight for her life but preserve what she can of the city, especially Al-Qata'i's treasured and iconic mosque—a mosque which still stands today, providing a throughline for timeless and universal themes of diversity and equality that have played out in Egypt since Ibn Tulum's time.

This vibrant portrait of medieval Egyptian life explores Egypt's identity and pre-Islamic past — and shows how the past shapes who we are today.

About the Authors

Reem Bassiouney is an Egyptian author and professor of sociolinguistics at The American University in Cairo. She won the Naguib Mahfouz Award from Egypt's Supreme Council for Culture for best Egyptian novel for her most recent novel, Sons of the People: The Mamluk Trilogy (English: Syracuse University Press, Nov 2021). She's won the 2009 Sawiris Foundation Literary Prize for Young Writers and the 2009 King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies Translation of Arabic Literature Award. Roger Allen, professor emeritus of the University of Pennsylviania, is an Arabic literature scholar and translator. He is credited with bringing Naguib Mahfouz to international recognition and promoting contemporary Arab literature in many other ways.


"A journey to ninth and tenth century Egypt, recounting the intrigues of power, love, and revenge." — Pauline Kaldas, Author of Letters from Cairo, The Time Between Places, and Looking Both Ways

"This trilogy is a mountain of verifiable historical facts wrapped in an exotic atmosphere which emanates the magical along with the surreal. It bespeaks a rich imagination enhanced by period poetry and viable motifs — an unforgettable read." — Nazek Fahmy, Ahram Online

"Bassiouney offers a singular perspective stretching across the many stages of Egyptian history to narrate the human experience of life: endeavor, love, loss, injustice, forgiveness, and the making of meaning... Taken together, [Bassiouney's] historical fiction provides a unique contribution to world literature." — Melanie Magidow, Translator of The Tale of Princess Fatima, Warrior Woman: The Arabic Epic of Dhat al-Himm

9781647122874 : al-qatai-bassiouney-allen
February 1, 2023
$44.95 USD

Other Titles by Reem Bassiouney

Arabic Sociolinguistics, Second Edition

Reem Bassiouney
Apr 2020 - Georgetown University Press
$119.95 USD - Hardback
$39.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$39.95 USD - Electronic book text


edited by Reem Bassiouney
Feb 2015 - Georgetown University Press
$60.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$60.00 USD - Electronic book text


edited by Reem Bassiouney
Oct 2013 - Georgetown University Press
$60.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$60.00 USD - Electronic book text
$60.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles by Roger Allen

Aswat Muasira

Jonas Elbousty, foreword by Roger Allen
Jan 2023 - Georgetown University Press
$179.55 USD - Hardback
$55.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Teaching and Learning Arabic as a Foreign Language

Karin C. Ryding, foreword by Roger Allen
Oct 2013 - Georgetown University Press
$39.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Modern Arabic, Revised Edition

Clive Holes, foreword by Roger Allen
Sep 2004 - Georgetown University Press
$49.95 USD - Paperback / softback