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The Marriott Cell by Mohamed Fahmy and Carol Shaben

The Marriott Cell

The Marriott Cell by Mohamed Fahmy and Carol Shaben
Nov 15, 2016 | 432 Pages
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  • Hardcover $25.95

    Nov 15, 2016 | 432 Pages

  • Ebook $13.99

    Nov 15, 2016 | 256 Pages

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Finalist for the 2017 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize (BC Book Awards)

“The story . . . is stomach-turning in places. The writing is masterful.” Diplomat & International Canada

The Marriott Cell is a gripping, fast-paced read, as one would expect from a story about a journalist in Egypt who suddenly finds himself terrifyingly and wrongfully incarcerated in a notorious prison next to the very people about whom he had been reporting. But it’s worth pausing to recognize how masterful storytelling can add momentum to an already engrossing narrative. Award-winning Egyptian Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, with the help of Carol Shaben, nails the art of pacing. The team’s ability to maintain momentum is a rarity among books written by journalists about their experience reporting on—even being caught up in—moments of intense conflict. Too often, such books are engaging and interesting, but squander their momentum by devoting giant chunks of text to providing background detail without any sustaining narrative. Not The Marriott Cell. . . . [C]ompelling.” —J-Source

“[A] frightening account of his years of imprisonment, which should be a footnote in future history books on the jihadi struggle in the Middle East.” —The Independent

“[A] compelling and sensational account of [Fahmy’s] imprisonment and his fight for freedom.” —The Hill Times

Urgent, wise, readable, and at times very moving, the authors have successfully rebooted what has quickly become a stale Canadian mini-genre. . . . Fahmy was a reporter long before he was a prisoner and he’d experienced the worst of the recent Middle Eastern conflagrations and their subsequent fallout. He thus knows that his story is the wire frame for a much larger encounter: This book is about the great, bloody unwinding of his homeland. . . . Apart from functioning as a stirring memoir and a deeply personal meditation on the nature of conjoined identities (every immigrant’s bane), Fahmy’s and Shaben’s book also functions as one of the more concise history of the Egyptian revolution I’ve yet read. Having reported his way so deeply through the events leading up to his arrest, there’s very little Fahmy didn’t experience first-hand, and few of the major (and, more interestingly, minor) players he didn’t encounter. The writing is lucid, and his reportorial nous never flags, even when terrible things are happening.” —Richard Poplak, author of Braking Bad, The Globe and Mail

“Mohamed Fahmy has just published a remarkable memoir, The Marriott Cell: An Epic Journey from Cairo’s Scorpion Prison to Freedom. It’s a gripping, compelling and insightful book . . . that takes us behind the headlines into what it was really like for Mr. Fahmy and those around him.” —Joseph Planta, founding editor of (interview)


“Mohamed Fahmy is a journalist’s journalist.” —Ben Makuch, host of Cyberwar, VICE Canada

“In 2011, as Hosni Mubarak’s government was being ousted in Egypt, [Fahmy] was hired by CNN and won accolades for his fearless and tenacious work.” —Gloria Galloway, The Globe and Mail

“Mohamed Fahmy is an extraordinary professional, a dedicated journalist, very passionate and a strong-willed character.” —Al Jazeera (interview)

“I met Mohamed Fahmy in Baghdad in 2003, as both of us were beginning our careers as journalists. Immediately, I admired his bravery and ability to get to the bottom of stories, even in a place as dangerous and opaque as Iraq. His energy was boundless and infectious, and we kept in touch over the years and occasionally crossed paths in our work and travels. . . . All journalists want their work to mean something, but few of us manage to achieve it. Mo could inspire envy with his ability to do amazing work in some of the toughest places; I considered myself lucky to be his friend, and even luckier to finally become his colleague when he was hired by Al Jazeera.” —David Enders, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression


Ontario Historical Society Huguenot Society of Canada Award WINNER 2016

BC Book Prize’s Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize FINALIST 2017

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