Last night, Egypt’s ninth annual Sawiris Cultural Awards were announced at a ceremony at the Cairo Opera House, and authors Mahmoud al-Wardani, Huda Ahmed, Yasser Abdellatif, Mahmoud Tawfik, and Mohamed Abdelnaby were given top literary honors:
The top novelist prize was jointly won by Mahmoud El-Wardani, for his novel House of Fire, and Huda Ahmed, for her novel I’ve Seen Myself as Swan. El-Wardani also won the Sawiris short-story prize in 2011 for his A Morning Party.
Al-Wardani, who was born in Cairo in 1950, has published a half-dozen novels and four collections of short stories. His Heads Ripe for Plucking came out, in English translation, from AUC Press in 2008.
The prize for best short-story collection went to writer Yasser Abdel-Latif for his collection Jonas in the Belly of the Whale, published by Kotob Khan Books in 2011. Abdellatif’s first novel, Law of Inheritance, won the 2005 Sawiris Prize.
Abdel Latif’s poetry has also appeared on PEN‘s website.
Mohamed Abdel-Naby won the best novel award in the emerging writers category for his novel The Return of the Sheikh, which was also longlisted for last year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Abdelnaby, who before that was known for his short stories, won the 2010 Sawiris award for his collection Anton Chekhov’s Ghost. He is also an acclaimed translator, and brought Hisham Matar’s Anatomy of a Disappearance into Arabic.
Two authors took second place in the emerging-writer category: Amr Mostafa Ashour, for his novel Heavy Black Bag, and Ibrahim Abdel-Ghany, for his novel Museum of Forgetness.
Mahmoud Tawfik took first prize in the short-story emerging-writer category for his Blue, which also made ArabLit’s list of acclaimed authors’ favorite reads of 2013. Second place was shared by Hany Abdel-Mourid and Ahmed Said for their collections The Myths of the Ancestors and As If it Were Alive.