Mahmoud El-Wardani (born Cairo, 1950) has published six novels and several collections of short stories. Typically his works are dispassionate and discontinuous depictions of ambiguous, disturbing situations. Imprisoned for student activism in the 1970s, el-Wardani also one of those who transported the bodies of deceased soldiers during the 1973 war. For several years now, el-Wardani has worked as a senior editor of Cairo's weekly literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab. In his most recent novel, Musiqa al-Mall (Mall Music, 2005), the hero becomes trapped and then imprisoned in a shopping mall. El-Wardani has explained, "I think it's only normal for a mall to turn into a prison . . . [both] are mechanisms of oppression."