Comics, Hookahs, and Cairo

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Neal talks with the author of a new graphic novel, Cairo, on the show today. It's the first comic written by G. Willow Wilson, and she'll fill us in on the story, and what it was like to write a comic book. She was also nice enough to do a little guest blogging for us...

For the first time in my adult life, I'm living in my own country.
I've discovered that adulthood doesn't mean the same thing in the US as it does in Egypt, and the skills I learned in the marketplaces of Cairo don't translate into the skills I need in the supermarkets of Seattle. I can bargain over the price of a live chicken with the best of them, but buying health insurance leaves me totally confused.
However, one thing that translates without fail is a healthy sense of the absurd. Flying prayer-mats and genies in hookahs are as funny here as they are in Egypt, and when I tell people I've written a graphic novel about them, the response is almost always a delighted "Really?" (Or in Egypt, "Begad?") Who knew that a book I wrote about a city on the other side of the world could become the bridge I cross to get back home.

- G. Willow Wilson

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If I just heard correctly, Ms. Wilson referred to the Nile as the only south-to-north running river in the world. Not so. As all geography-centric Oregonians know, the Willamette River - which runs through the middle of Portland, is the longest north-flowing river in the U.S.

Sent by Paul Bush | 2:51 PM | 11-20-2007

Ms. Wilson said that the Nile was the only river that flows North. Just a small correction... Actually many rivers flow north, as long as the mountains are to the south. Here is a list of some:
Athabasca Alberta, Canada, 765 miles
Bann Northern Ireland
Bighorn Wyoming and Montana, USA, 336 miles
Cauca Colombia, 597 miles
Deschutes Oregon, USA, 250 miles
Eel Northern California, USA, 78 miles
Erne Ireland and Northern Ireland, 60 miles
Essequibo Guyana, 600 miles
Genesee New York, USA, 144 miles
Jordan Utah, USA, 45 miles
Lena Russian Federation, 2735 miles
Little Bighorn, Wyoming and Montana, USA, 80 miles
Magdalena Colombia, 1062 miles
Mojave Southern California, USA, 100 miles
Monongahela Eastern USA, 128 miles
New Virginia and West Virginia, USA, 255 miles
Niagara Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, 39 miles.
Nile Africa, 4150 miles
Ob Russian Federation, 2289 miles
Oswego New York, USA, 24 miles
Otter Creek Vermont, USA, 75 miles
Pend Oreille Washington, USA, 62 miles
Red Minnesota, North Dakota, USA (into Canada), 318 miles
Richelieu Quebec, Canada, 208 miles
Saginaw Michigan, USA, 20 miles.
Saint Johns Florida, USA, 275 miles
San Pedro Mexico (into Arizona), 142 miles
Shennandoah Virginia and West Virginia, USA, 55 miles
Wilamette Oregon, USA, 188 miles
Wallkill New Jersey, USA, length unknown
Yenisey Russian Federation, 2548 miles
Youghiogheny Eastern USA, 151 miles

Sent by Jim Yokom | 2:54 PM | 11-20-2007

I believe I said the Nile is one of the only rivers that runs south-north--a dearly-held distinction to many Cairenes--but either way, thanks for the correction.

Sent by G. Willow Wilson | 3:57 PM | 11-20-2007

I really enjoyed your interview today. I'll be keeping an eye out for Cairo - it sounds fascinating!

Sent by Margaret | 6:57 PM | 11-20-2007

Great interview, and what a fascinating topic! Wondering if Ms. Willow's book would be available in Egypt and what she thinks the populace there might think of the graphic representation of such closely held superstitions like belief in the the djinn? btw: looking forward to reading it.

Sent by KF Zuzulo | 7:48 PM | 11-20-2007

I just ordered my copy from Amazon!!! Is there an Arabic version? Are there plans to do other graphic novels set in the Mid East? What do you think of "the 99" the fairly new comic book series ala X-Men or the Justice League? Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sent by Jim Kabay | 3:52 AM | 11-22-2007

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