Screenshots: A Dictionary of the Revolution

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Screenshots is a regular feature by Simon Groth, highlighting a project, app, or other resource of interest.

A Dictionary of the Revolution
by Amira Hanafi

The text for A Dictionary of the Revolution is drawn from interviews with around 200 people recorded during the Egyptian revolution in 2014. Participants were asked to respond to cards, each containing words and phrases common in political rhetoric of the time.

The result is a remarkable piece of writing. Its 125 chapters—each gathered under one of the original interview prompts—provide glimpses of a world coming apart at the seams, infused with hints of violence and the melancholic sense that nothing can ever be the same again.

Its word-map navigation at once intuitive and innovative, suggesting connection between chapters and providing a semi-guided path through the text, rather than a random sampling of texts. What emerges is a kind of narrative, though one with no clear arc, no true beginning and definitely no end. Seems appropriate for a revolution.

Simon Groth is a writer and editor whose works include Infinite Blue (with Darren Groth) and Hunted Down and Other Tales (with Marcus Clarke). With if:book Australia, Simon created a series of award-winning experimental works including the 24-Hour Book, live writing events at writers festivals around the world, and works of literary remix.

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