Hoopoe offers diverse voices and compelling stories through a selection of novels set in various locations, including Palestine, Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt, providing readers with a glimpse into the rich and diverse cultures of the Middle East. The imprint seeks fresh writing from Marrakesh to Baghdad and Khartoum to Aleppo.

Hoopoe is an imprint for engaged, open-minded readers hungry for outstanding fiction that challenges headlines, re-imagines histories, and celebrates original storytelling. From historical epics, social satire, police procedurals, and stories of the future Middle East: we will publish the exciting and the unexpected.

Through elegant paperback and digital editions, we’re championing bold, contemporary writing and the finest, groundbreaking authors of today.

What can you expect?

Hoopoe will appeal to bookworms of historical fiction set in far-flung lands, thriller lovers with a taste for intrigue, and crime fanatics who crave Noir. It is for the curious, growing Arab diaspora; students of and visitors to the Middle East; and those with a professional interest in the seismic changes reshaping people’s lives across this enigmatic part of the world.

Who are we?

Hoopoe is an imprint of the AUC Press, for over half a century the leading publisher of Arabic literature in English translation and wide-ranging books about the Middle East. Our home is above the renowned AUC Bookstore, overlooking Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Our authors are world-renowned and include Naguib Mahfouz, the only Arab writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Mahfouz was followed to the Press by uniquely talented writers who received wide critical acclaim in English translation, including Ibrahim al-Koni, Sahar Khalifeh, Alaa Al Aswany, Gamal al-Ghitani, Miral-al Tahawy, and Yusuf Idris and many more.

What is a hoopoe?

A hoopoe is a beautiful bird found across the Middle East, known for its distinctive crown of black and chestnut feathers. Like the cuckoo, its name is derived from its unique call.

In his famous epic The Conference of the Birds, Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar casts the hoopoe as the leader of all birds and the storyteller on the flock’s quest for enlightenment.

In the Qur’an the hoopoe is depicted as a trusted messenger, carrying messages between Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; while in ancient Egypt the hoopoe was sacred and was a symbol of the heir apparent to the throne.