Ibrahim Farghali Wins Senior Sawiris Novel Prize for ‘Sons of Gebelawi’

This Saturday in Cairo, the winners of the 2012 Sawiris Prize were announced at a ceremony at the Opera House. 

images (1)Ibrahim Farghali (@IbrahimFarghali) won the best fiction award in the “senior writers” category for his Sons of Gebelawi.

Sons of Gebelawi, initially published in 2009 by Dar al-Ain, takes as its jumping-off point Naguib Mahfouz’s controversial Children of the Alley, published in English as Children of Gebelawi. The 1959 novel sparked a religious judgment against Mahfouz which, years later, inspired an assassination attempt against Egypt’s Nobel Prize-winning author.

Farghali’s novel has been printed and sold within Egypt, but has faced censorship trouble at the border, when being shipped back from book fairs abroadSons of Gebelawi has not yet found a translator, although Farghali’s eariler novel, Smiles of Saints, is available in English (trans. Andy Smart and Nadia Fouda-Smart).

Best short-story collection in the senior writers category went to Ibrahim Dawoud for his The Atmosphere (2011, Dar Merit). In 38 sketches, The Atmosphere draws portraits of Cairo’s poets, authors, and artists in the city’s cafés.

The senior-writer awards each come with a monetary prize of 100,000LE.

Tweeted out from the event by Yasser Ahmed.
Tweeted out from the event by Yasser Ahmed.

In a poke at the Galal Amin-led judging panel for this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction, Mohammed Saad at Ahram Online noted: “This year’s surprise was the judging panel of established writers, which was stronger and included more respected literary names than at the prestigious Arabic Booker.”

The judging panel for the senior category included author Gamal El-Ghitani, critics Mona Tolba and Mohammed Badawy, and professors Samia Mehrez and Mohammed Bererry.

Meanwhile, in the young-writer category, Yasser Ahmed (@YasserAhmad) took the top novel prize for his Reverse Direction, and second place was shared by Mohamed Salem (Visual Cadres) and Mohamed Mahmoud Ghitani (Tango Dancer).

Mohammad Rafie won first place in the young writers short-story category for The Water’s Grandeur, and second place was shared between Amira Hassan al-Desoki (Stop It, Youssef) and Muhammad Farouk Shams El-Din(The Qasr el-Nil Cinema).

In the young writers category, first prize brings a monetary award of 40,000LE and second prize 30,000LE. The judging panel for the young-writers award included author Ibrahim Abdel-Maguid, journalist Karima Kamal, philosophy professor Anwar Moghith, poet Abdel-Monem Ramadan, and critic Saeed El-Wakeel.

The emerging-writer shortlist can be found on the Sawiris Foundation website.

The best play awards went to Ibrahim El-Houssaini for Hashashin and Selim Stawroo for The Defeats of the Knights. More about the prize on the Sawiris Foundation website and Al Dostorand don’t miss the night’s tweets from Yasser Ahmed:

Attending the ceremony for the awards .. Wish me luck (@ Cairo Opera House) http://4sq.com/11fKlA7

A lot of famous authors are here.. I am super excited 🙂

Ahmed Fouad Negm is sitting near me :))

First prize 🙂

Samieh Sawiras <3

Wait for my photos with Gamal el Geitani and Sameih Sawiras 🙂