Be a Scribe!

Working for a Better Life in Ancient Egypt


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ISBN: 9798987412435 Category:

Michael Hoffen, Christian Casey, Jen Thum


An immersive story of daily life in ancient Egypt.

This extraordinary translation of a tale by Michael Hoffen, a 16-year-old young author, will acquaint readers with the life of a teenage boy in ancient Egypt and show readers that working for a living has never been easy!

Sail up the Nile with an ancient Egyptian father and son and discover what daily life was like along the way. Experience the wonderful world of ancient Egypt with the help of countless artificats and paintings. Delight in four-thousand-year-old humor and immerse yourself in the choices facing a teenage boy in Egypt then.

‘Few visitors to the British Museum can actually read the ancient words on the artefacts – but one teenager has turned an object’s script into a book. . . Michael, who comes from New York, is the recipient of the Emerson prize for outstanding promise in history. His passion for the subject was fired as a young boy by Usborne and Dorling Kindersley books-and he now has his own title, Be A Scribe.’ – The Times

‘Prepare to be amazed and amused by the history and wit in this wonderful new translation of Khety’s advice to his son Pepi. Michael Hoffen is an astonishing talent and in this outstanding debut brings a fresh perspective to the fascinating world of ancient Egypt. Beautifully illustrated, brilliantly conceived, and brimming with joy, Be a Scribe is destined to become a classic.’ – Dr. Amanda Foreman

Dr. Amanda Foreman is the author of the prize-winning best sellers, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided. Dr Foreman has served as a judge on almost every major literary prize, including the Booker Prize and the National Book Award. In 2016, she was asked to serve for a second time on the Booker Prize, this time as the chair.

Additional information

Weight 856 g
Dimensions 24.6 x 31.2 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 18 April 2024
Number of pages 104
Format Hardback
Dimensions 24.6 x 31.2 cm
Weight 856 g


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Michael Hoffen is the youngest-ever recipient of the annual Emerson Prize, awarded by the Concord Review for outstanding promise in history. While still in middle school he was introduced to the joys of translating ancient texts and never looked back. During the pandemic, Michael decided to embark on an ambitious project to bring ancient Egyptian literature to life outside the classroom. Be A Scribe! is Michael's first book in a series intended for young readers. When not chasing down new stories to translate or write, Michael enjoys biking, swimming, and rock climbing. He lives with his family in New York.

Dr. Christian Casey is an Egyptologist who specializes in the study of ancient Egyptian languages. He obtained his PhD in Egyptology from Brown University in 2020 and now works as a researcher at Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin. He is especially interested in sharing the exciting world of ancient Egypt with young people and other interested members of the public.

Dr. Jen Thum is an Egyptologist, educator, and curator at the Harvard Art Museums. She studied Egyptology and Archaeology at the University of Oxford and Brown University. Jen's work celebrates the learning potential of ancient material culture, especially across disciplines. She teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, writes and leads workshops about learning with art and artifacts, and is the lead editor of Teaching Ancient Egypt in Museums: Pedagogies in Practice.