Alaa Al Aswany's first novel The Yacoubian Building was longlisted for The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2006 and has sold over a million copies worldwide. He is also the author of Chicago and the short story collection, Friendly Fire. His work has been translated into 29 languages and published in over 100 countries. Al Aswany was named by The Times as one of the best 50 authors to have been translated into English in the last 50 years. He speaks Arabic, English, French, and Spanish.