Ahmed Naji headshot.
Photo by Malika Zouhali-Worrall

Ahmed Naji

Novelist, Journalist, Memoirist

2024 Fellow


Ahmed Naji (he/him) is a bilingual writer, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and official criminal from Egypt. His works delve into music, contemporary art, prisons, and politics.

Naji has made significant contributions to Arabic literature with his novels: Rogers (2007), Using Life (2014), And Tigers to My Room (2020), Happy Endings (2023), and most recently a memoir, Rotten Evidence: Reading and Writing in Prison (McSweeney’s, 2023). His work has been translated into English, Italian, and Spanish, among other languages.

In 2016, Naji faced a two-year prison sentence for his novel Using Life, accused of obscenity and disrupting public morality. Despite these challenges, Naji won the Dubai Press Club Award for the Best Arabic Culture Report in 2011 and the prestigious PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award in 2016. He was a City of Asylum Fellow at the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute from 2019 to 2023.

Currently, Naji is pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at University of Nevada Las Vegas and working on his first English-language novel. Naji lives in Las Vegas with his family.