While literature produced by Arab women has received sustained academic attention, little commentary exists on the way fiction writing is interspersed with their ordinary lives defined by domesticity. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2017 and 2020 in Cairo, this article explores fiction writing as a powerful means of midlife self-reinvention among Cairene women. It considers their pursuit of literary careers in light of the recent opening of Egyptian literary markets to new writing publics and as part of women’s midlife transition, defined by their emancipation from outdated versions of their gendered selves. Viewing writing as an embodied practice of self-care, the article argues that fiction provides individuals with an “elsewhere” in which they can escape their rigid selves and reimagine their existence.

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