Arabi-Englizi: a story about London… through Arab Eyes!

In his new book, Faisal J. Abbas describes the cultural differences he went through when he moved to the United Kingdom upon receiving a job offer to work with the leading pan-Arab, London-based daily, Asharq Al Awsat. Arabi-Englizi is a collection of observations about the British capital, combining journalistic reporting with anthropological commentary and personal experiences.

Given that I am a believer in Oscar Wilde’s definition of experience as ‘simply the name we give our mistakes,’ you will find that most of what I have written, and poked fun at, is a recollection of my own gaffes as an immigrant seeking to adapt to his new environment.

– Faisal J. Abbas


لندن كما عشتها وعايشتها وتعايشت معها

بعد حصوله في عام 2003 على عرض للعمل صحفيا في لندن، أمضى فيصل ج. عباس نحو عقد من الزمان يتأمل تفاصيل وتعقيدات وتناقضات هذه المدينة الكبرى. وبمزيج من فضول المهاجر وحياد الصحافي، يروي لنا من خلال هذا الكتاب تجارب عمل، وعلم، وعشق تعكس ما يخوضه المغترب في بيئته الجديدة من أسئلة محيرة ومواقف طريفة يسردها بخليط من الجدية المهنية تارة، وبسخرية لاذعة تارة أخرى.

لأني أؤمن بتعريف “الخبرة” كما يصفها الكاتب الإيرلندي الشهير، أوسكار وايلد، حين قال إنها “مجرد الاسم الذي يطلقه البشر على أخطائهم”، فستجدون أن مُعظم ما كتبت عنه – وسخرت منه – كان “تخبيصاتي” كمُهاجر جديد سعى جاهداً للتأقلم مع بيئته الجديدة.

– فيصل ج. عباس

Tale of Two Kingdoms

Faisal J. Abbas, who hails from Jeddah on the western coast of Saudi Arabia, is certainly unlike many of his Arab counterparts who come to the West bringing their habits and traditions with them, and refrain from adapting to the new life that they now lead.

Through this book, Faisal does quite the opposite by demonstrating a deep knowledge of British life. Contrary to many other similar books, his writing reflects a rich experience.

– Othman al-Omeir, renowned Arab publisher and legendary Londoner

Buy now

The Author

With a career in journalism spanning over 15 years, Faisal has dedicated most of his life to writing. Currently the Editor-in-Chief of Arab News, the leading English-language international Arab daily, he previously served as the editor of the English-language service of Al Arabiya News Channel and reported for both leading London-based pan-Arab dailies Asharq Al Awsat and Al Hayat.

He has been a renowned blogger with The Huffington Post since 2008 and is the recipient of numerous media awards, including the London-based Next Century Foundation’s Cutting Edge Award (2009) for extraordinary efforts in nurturing understanding between the West and the Arab World and the Social Impact Award for Saudi Arabia, earned at the recently-held British Council Study UK Alumni Awards.



The narrator and main character… an aspiring Arab journalist who at 23-years-old wins a “golden-ticket” to become a section editor with a leading regional newspaper based in London. After relocating from his hometown of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to the British capital, he realizes that there is much more complexity to life in Britain than he might have imagined!


Author of “Watching the English,” an anthropology book which tries to decipher the cultural codes of life in England. The book serves as a crucial survival tool for Faisal in the UK and most importantly, cracks the mystery of the everlasting British obsession with talking about the weather.


Provides Faisal with his first London A-Z, another survival tool which introduces our hero to the art of reading a map and saves him from the awful embarrassment of continuously arriving late to appointments. (Note to all you millennials: an A-Z booklet is what Londoners used for navigation long before Google Maps and GPS came to be)

"The Dodgy Edgware Road-ian"

A British-Yemeni “wheeler-dealer” who Faisal meets on Edgware Road and ultimately tricks him into illegally renting a council flat at a reduced price. When he failed to present paperwork to the authorities who came knocking on the door, the scam was revealed and the lesson was learned to always rent from a reputable estate agent.

"Good girl gone bad"

A conservative British-Egyptian young lady who the main character tries to date but then breaks up with after she tells him that she longs for a “real man” from the days of the Islamic Caliphate. Years later, he finds out that she was secretly dating an English photographer who took pictures of her as a Page 3 model!

Abu Hamza

A nasty villain and the focus of much of the author’s journalistic work following the 7-7 terrorist attacks which he also covered for his newspaper.

Professor Pike

Course leader and director of post-graduate studies at a London university whom the author meets and befriends upon deciding to do his master’s degree on a part-time basis. Professor Pike proves to possess progressive points-of-view, particularly on politics, and has great influence over Faisal.


Upon leaving his job in journalism, Simon takes Faisal in and introduces him to the fascinating world of advertising sales. With all odds against him given the 2009 financial crisis and his lack of experience, Faisal learns that “success is driven by belief”.



Previewing the book at EAFOL ’16

Al Arabiya preview of the book

Shufi London

Al Hayat


Al Roeya

Saudi Gazette Article

Al Ain News (Video)


Arabe Media Forum

Asharq Al-Awsat

2016 Pre-Launch Trailer

Arabi Englizi Gallery

Buy the Book

Arabi-Englizi is scheduled to go on general release and will be available at all Virgin Mega Stores, and other major bookstores in the UAE later on.

More details about other regional/international launches and where to buy the hardcopy or download a digital edition coming soon… stay tuned!

Pre-order your copy, fill in the following form

This book is available in Arabia via its UAE publisher, Kuttab Publishing An announcement about the book coming out in other languages is coming soon.

Get in Touch