Youssef Ziedan is a highly respected Egyptian scholar specialising in Arabic and Islamic studies. He was director of the Manuscript Centre and Museum affiliated to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt and has also worked as a consultant for UNESCO, ESCWA and the Arab League in the field of Arabic heritage preservation and conservation.
He is also a University professor, public lecturer, columnist and prolific author, having written a vast number of books on Sufi poetry, Islamic philosophy, most notably Arab Theology and the Origins of Religious Violence, an examination of the key tenets that have shaped Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as their links to each other and the geography of the region. He has also authored books on Arab medicine, literary critiques and the art of cataloguing manuscripts.
Ziedan has authored four critically acclaimed and bestselling novels, the first of which was the 2009 International Prize for Arabic Fiction-winning Azazeel, which is ostensibly the memoir of the fifth-century monk Hypa and his spiritual quest. The book was translated to English in 2012.
His following novels were The Nabatean, also a historical novel, Places, set in contemporary times, and Guantanamo, inspired by the accounts of prisoners of the infamous American prison camp.