The East-West Divan is a commemorative publication for Werner Mark Linz. With contributions from those who knew or worked with him, the book showcases the 10 subject areas in which the Gingko Library is to publish.

This collection of scholarly essays on Egyptian culture, history, society, archaeology, literature, art and conservation is published in memory of Werner Mark Linz, who spent much of the latter part of his professional life as the Director of the American University in Cairo Press. East-West Divan is the first volume of the Gingko Library, a publishing project that embraces scholarship from both East and West, conceived by Werner Mark Linz to foster greater cross-cultural understanding. Among the contributors to this collection are the Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany, author of The Yacoubian Building; Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass; the renowned Swiss theologian Hans Küng; the author of the acclaimed A Fort of Nine Towers, Qais Akbar Omar; and Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.

The New York publishing world knew him as Werner: founder of Continuum, publisher of popes and Nobel laureates, of The Pedagogy of the Oppressed and The German Library. His Cairo friends remember him as Mark: Director of the American University in Cairo Press, champion of Arabic literature in translation, publisher and agent of Naguib Mahfouz. Was Linz like the famous Gingko leaf?

Is that leaf one and lonely?
In itself in two divided?
Is it two that have decided
To be seen as one leaf only?
His life’s achievements, commemorated in this volume, provide an answer:

To such questions I reply:
Do not my love songs say to you-
Should you ever wonder why
I sing, that I am one yet two?
These lines from the ‘Gingko Biloba’ – Goethe’s ode to friendship and a symbol of the union between old and young, man and woman, past and present, human and Divine, literature and scholarship, East and West – brilliantly and aptly reflect the thoughts which inspired Linz throughout his life. Gingko has therefore been chosen as the name for this library of thought, which he initiated before he died in February 2013.

Every penny raised by the Gingko Library will go towards the realisation of Werner Mark Linz’s plan to build bridges between East and West through an annual academic conference and a library of thought.