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AUC Press to release first ever biography on Sir Magdi Yacoub

The American University in Cairo Press announced it will be releasing a biography in English about Egyptian heart surgeon Magdi Yacoub under the title “A Surgeon and a Maverick: The Life and Pioneering Work of Magdi Yacoub”.

The book is written by British journalists Simon Pearson and Fiona Gorman.

In this first authorized biography of its kind, Pearson and Gorman document the life of Yacoub from his early years in Egypt through the brilliant success he achieved at Cairo University, all the way to his distinguished career in the UK and when he was knighted in 1992.

It also covers when he was awarded the highest honor in the gift of the Queen, the Order of Merit, in 2014.


Pioneer of the heart

The biographers recount how Yacoub revolutionized the treatment of congenital heart diseases in children forty years ago through innovation and dedication, facing challenges head-on.

In 1982, Yacoub performed the first heart and lung transplant in the UK at Harefield Hospital.

Many of his patients are still thriving to this day, thirty-five years on.

The biography contains lively stories and behind-the-scenes anecdotes recounting the challenges and triumphs he has faced.

The authors commented on the process of writing the biography of Yacoub, who told his story over 25 hours in 17 interviews, saying: “We ended up spending a lot of time with Prof. We also conducted 40-odd additional interviews with patients, colleagues, key members of his team, friends and families he’d helped. It’s been very rewarding. People who received Prof’s care had a chance to tell their stories in a way they had never done before.”

“We are incredibly proud to publish ‘A Surgeon and a Maverick’,” said AUC Press executive director Veerle De Laet.

“This book is a testament to the power of human determination and the profound impact one individual can have on society,” she added.

The editorial director who supervised the book project, Nadia al-Naqeeb, said that Yacoub’s exceptional life is a story that deserves to be told, as it illuminates important and exciting aspects of scientific research and can provide hope and inspiration to readers of all backgrounds.

Yacoub’s story is one of perseverance and determination. His success was not easy to achieve, especially since he was a stranger to British society, but he managed against all odds.

His innovative medical techniques sparked controversy in the medical communities, bringing him to clash with the medical establishment in London.


About the authors:

According to the AUC Press website, Simon Pearson and Fiona Gorman are a husband-and-wife team of author-editors who worked for The Times newspaper in London for more than thirty years.

A former executive editor at The Times, Pearson is the author of three books, including the bestselling biography “The Great Escaper”.

Gorman has written on a range of subjects including mental health, and Simon contributes obituaries for The Times. They both live in London.

The introduction to the book was written by British scientist Mary Archer, who specializes in solar energy conversion. In 2012, she was awarded the title ‘Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire’ for her many services to the NHS.

The American University in Cairo Press (AUC Press) is the leading academic publisher of English-language books in the Middle East. With a rich history spanning more than 60 years, AUC Press is committed to publishing high-quality works that explore the diverse cultures, histories, and ideas of the region.

AUC Press publishes around 50 new titles annually and has a backlist of more than 800 titles sold and distributed globally.

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