Through reading, we discover places we will never see and meet people we will never know. But behind the words is a writer with a life beyond these pages. Meet the extremely prolific writer Mirna El Helbawi.
Who is Mirna El Helbawi?
I’m a girl who loves exploring. I’m everything you can imagine; wise and foolish, organized and clumsy, realistic and very dreamy. But the most important thing, I guess, is that I’m being myself in every single aspect of my life. I graduated from Faculty of Tourism and Hotels at Alexandria University. I worked as a junior journalist since I was 19 years old, I was in my third year of uni when I moved to Cairo all alone for a new job. I worked in journalism for six years. By the sixth year, I was the managing editor of a big journalistic website platform. I’m always eager to achieve more and more. I’m a writer, I’m a business woman, I’m so many things.
Where did your love for books/ storytelling/ reading/ writing etc… come from?
My love for reading started very early. I started reading since I was seven years old. I was very weak at reading Arabic and my mother didn’t like that, so she started bringing me cool books until I have officially become a bookworm. I did not recognize my love for writing until I was 18 years old. But I was always a shy kid who expressed her emotions through sending letters to family and friends.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing as a blogger since I was 18 which means eight years ago. But I started the professional writing at the age of 19.
What were your goals and intentions regarding your book “Mor Methl Elqahwa, Helw Methl Elchocola”? And do you feel you achieved them?
I just wanted to write the book I wanted to find in bookstores. I wrote what I wanted to read. I wrote it because deep in my heart I feel I was born to write. My only intention was to make people feel good, to enjoy the few hours they spend reading my words.
What was the hardest part of writing this book? And what did you enjoy the most while writing it?
The hardest part was writer’s block and self-doubt. But I enjoyed the fact that I had so many untold stories. It gave me a feeling of satisfaction that I kind of succeeded in the game of life by exploring and going here and there.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
Being real and being written from the heart.
What do you think characterises your writing?
I got so many comments that I’m good at translating the feelings which many people cannot express into words.
What is the something people don’t know about you?
I suffer from anxiety. I’m also very sensitive.
What inspires you?
Who are some of your favourite authors that were influential to your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
So many! Starting from Khaled Al Safty to Nabil Farouk, Ahmed Khaled Tawfik, Anis Mansour, Yusuf Al-Sibai, Naguib Mahfouz, Nermin
Nermin Nizar, Paulo Coelho, Leo Tolstoy. Each one has left his mark in my soul. I’m grateful for each and everyone of them.
Do you write more by logic or by your experiences?
Both. A good combination in between.
What do you like to read in your free time?
Everything. I love reading very much! Recently, I read mainly novels.
What are your plans for future projects?
I’m working on my second book. I’m hoping it gets released in the summer. Also, there are two or three business projects that I will reveal soon.