Professor Lukas Discusses His Award-Winning Novel, 'The Last Watchman of Old Cairo'

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
HADASSAH MAGAZINE -- Author Michael David Lukas blends fact and fiction in a richly evocative tapestry that spans 1,000 years in three interconnected narratives. The themes of stewardship, forbidden love and the relationship between Cairo’s Jews and Muslims permeate this year’s Harold U. Ribalow Award winner, “The Last Watchman of Old Cairo.” His second book — his first was “The Oracle of Stamboul” — has already won the National Jewish Book Award, the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Award. Lukas teaches at San Francisco State University. “I couldn’t square my Jewish identity with my love for Cairo until one day I found myself wandering around Old Cairo,” Lukas said. “I came upon a graveyard and I noticed some Jewish names and Stars of David. It was connected to this synagogue, and I overheard a tour guide talking about Jewish history in Cairo. That was a revelatory moment for me.”