Since 1996 the AUC Press has presented the annual Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, a major award in support of contemporary Arabic literature in translation.
The award, consisting of a silver medal and a cash prize, as well as translation and publication throughout the English-speaking world, is presented annually on December 11, the birthday of Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, by the President of the American University in Cairo in the presence of the Minister of Culture and many other prominent leaders of Egypt’s cultural life.
The Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature is awarded for the best contemporary novel published in Arabic (but not yet in English) and is selected every fall by the Mahfouz Award Committee, which includes Dr. Tahia Abdel Nasser, Dr. Shereen Abouelnaga, Dr. Hussein Hammouda, Dr. Mona Tolba, Mr. Abdo Wazen. The award-winning book is subsequently translated and published in an English-language edition by the AUC Press in Cairo, New York, and London.
Welcoming the award, Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz said: “The announcement of this award honoring writers and literature is the most pleasurable event on my birthday. I hope that this prize will also help to discover new talents in Arabic literature and introduce them to readers around the world.”
The American University in Cairo Press is the primary English-language publisher of Naguib Mahfouz and has published or licensed some 600 foreign-language editions of the Nobel laureate’s works in 40 languages.
The 20 winners of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature since its inauguration include 8 women, 11 men; 11 Egyptians (2 posthumously), 2 Palestinians, 1 Algerian, 1 Lebanese, 1 Moroccan, 2 Syrians, and 1 Iraqi:
2013: Khaled Khalifa, No Knives in the Kitchens of This City
2012: Ezzat El Kamhawi, House of the Wolf
2011: The Revolutionary Literary Creativity of the Egyptian People
2010: Miral al-Tahawy, Brooklyn Heights
2009: Khalil Sweileh, Writing Love
2008: Hamdi Abu Golayyel, A Dog with No Tail
2007: Amina Zaydan, Red Wine
2006: Sahar Khalifeh, The Image, the Icon, and the Covenant
2005: Yusuf Abu Rayya, Wedding Night
2004: Alia Mamdouh, The Loved Ones
2003: Khairy Shalaby, The Lodging House
2002: Bensalem Himmich, The Polymath
2001: Somaya Ramadan, Leaves of Narcissus
2000: Hoda Barakat, The Tiller of Waters
1999: Edwar al-Kharrat, Rama and the Dragon
1998: Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Memory in the Flesh
1997: Mourid Barghouti, I Saw Ramallah; and Yusuf Idris, City of Love and Ashes
1996: Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, The Other Place; and Latifa al-Zayyat, The Open Door
The Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature is awarded on the basis of the literary excellence of the work as agreed by a panel of judges. The Award Committee meets in early summer to establish a shortlist of nominees and in the fall the judges make a final decision prior to the award ceremony on December 11 of every year.
Anyone can nominate a novel by giving the full bibliographical information of the work and contact information of the author and the original publisher. Any Arabic novel published anywhere in the world in the same calendar year as the award or the year before but not yet translated into English is eligible. Authors can also nominate their works and send six copies of their book, along with a copy of their CV, with address, telephone, and email information. The AUC Press will acknowledge receipt of works, but only winners will be contacted thereafter, and books will not be returned to senders.
The AUC Press recommends that works or nominations sent to the Naguib Mahfouz Medal reach the AUC Press no later than June 15 of every year. All correspondence, inquiries, and contacts for the Mahfouz Medal award should be addressed to:
Mahfouz Award Committee
c/ o The American University in Cairo Press
113 Kasr El Aini Street
P.O. Box 2511
For more information, contact:
Associate Director for Editorial Programs
Tel: +202 2797-6892