Mark Linz, a ‘Champion of Egyptian and Arab Authors’

We are still working on a larger online memorial for Mark Linz. But in the meantime, this piece from Egypt Independent:

From an invitation card designed by Andrea Al Akshar, produced for Linz's party celebrating 50 years at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
From an invitation card designed by Andrea Al Akshar, produced for Linz’s party celebrating 50 years at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

In the early morning hours of Saturday 9 February, the publishing world lost one of its great literary champions.

That is when Werner Mark Linz, long-time director of the American University in Cairo Press, died peacefully after a struggle with cancer. The last and perhaps most meaningful stage of Linz’s long publishing career was at the AUC Press, where he spent nearly two decades as director. At AUC Press as elsewhere, Linz was known as an enthusiastic, charming deal-maker. He brought the press from disarray to success to the key regional publisher of English-language literature.

Linz first joined the AUC Press in 1984, working at the press for a little more than two years before returning to his adopted New York. In those years, according to the AUC Press Associate Director Neil Hewison, Linz published several of Naguib Mahouz’s novels. “Most importantly at that time, with brilliant foresight, [Linz] signed the comprehensive foreign rights agreement with Mahfouz in 1985,” three years before Mahfouz took the Nobel Prize for literature.

Linz left AUC Press in 1986, and for almost 10 years worked on other projects. But he was drawn back to Cairo, and returned to take the helm of AUC Press for another 16 years (1995-2011). Shortly after his return, he established the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, which led to a great broadening of the press’s Arabic literature in translation program, which now includes some 70 writers from across the region.

“Mark’s passion for life, publishing, and everything bubbled constantly from an unstoppable wellspring,” the AUC Press’s Hewison said. “His extraordinary energy often left younger folk like me lagging behind and gasping, and he could see a publishing opportunity at 100 paces and sign the deal before the rest of us had put our glasses on.” Keep reading.

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