Jan van Eyck Academie

Gamal Fouad is a writer and, together with Claire Fons, forms the artist duo Felix & Mumford who have exhibited in Berlin and Bologna, and whose work was acquired for the collection of the Centraal Museum Utrecht. His first book Oneindig eiland (‘Infinite island’) was published in 2016, a hilarious novel about a man who’s invited to teach a writing course on a tropical island, even though he’s never been published himself. Fouad evokes the atmosphere on the island with masterly precision, and is deftly comic in telling the story of the course leader and participants. It’s a captivating novel, somewhat reminiscent of The world according to Garp. [1] His second work De voorhuidenverzamelaar (‘The foreskin collector’ Querido, 2018) was nominated for the Biesheuvel award for the best short stories. Gamal draws on his own youth in Alexandria as well as his experiences as an artist in Berlin for his stories. These are symbolic narratives populated by archetypes, where Fouad works highly associatively. As writer in residence, Gamal Fouad made a statement by buying a prefab cabin online and placing it in the garden of the academy, so he could write in it. In front of the cabin, he built a small fire and had long chats with the other artists around it. He wrote a number of uncompromisingly precise texts about these conversations, Op zoek naar de ontbrekende tijd (‘Searching for absent time’), which can be listened to inside the cabin during the Open Studios.

Gamal Fouad’s residency was made possible with support from the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

[1] The novel is also compared in the press to The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño, and Revizor by Nikolai Gogol.

“build yourself a hut, and there begin the grand process of devouring yourself alive.”

W. E. Channing (poet)