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Originally trained as a dentist, Alaa Al Aswany still has his own practice in Cairo. His first novel, The Yacoubian Building, which was longlisted for The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2006, has sold over a million copies worldwide, and was the bestselling novel in the Arab world for more than five years. Al Aswany is also the author of Chicago and a story collection, Friendly Fire. His work has been translated into twenty-nine languages, and published in over one hundred countries.