Although the great Egyptian novelist and Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz left us in 2006, his birthday continues to be marked every December 11. And his star has certainly not dimmed:
New revelations and texts
This August, there was a week-long commemoration of Mahfouz, at which launched Mohamed Salmawy’s Naguib Mahfouz Dialogues (Hiwarat Naguib Mahfouz). There were revelations of more archival material and texts.
Mohamed Salmawy, who was a friend of Mahfouz’s and president of the Egyptian Writers Union, said at a book launch that he had “more than 500 hours of audio cassettes” recording his talks with Mahfouz he said, which included the author’s “opinions on the existence of God, religion, the political situation in Egypt, and many political leaders like Nasser, Lenin, Gandhi, in addition to many things that Salmawy did not publish then or until now.”
At the commemoration, there was also an announcement that a Naguib Mahfouz Museum should finally open this year on December 11 — that is, today.
This is not the first time a Mahfouz museum has been announced — in the runup to Mahfouz’s centenary, Egypt’s culture ministry said they would establish a Mahfouz Museum and Tourist Center in the house where the author was born, but it never came to be. The new plans are to establish the museum in the Bashtak Palace.
However, another year and no museum.
Graphic novel adaptation of Children of the Alley
Jonathan Guyer reports: “Migo Rollz—winner of the grand prix at this year’s CairoComix Festival—is illustrating Mahfouz’s Children of the Alley. You can read the first section of his graphic adaptation here, and I paste a snippet below.” See it on Guyer’s Oum Cartoon.
A new Naguib Mahfouz prize — maybe, maybe not
In May, Egypt’s then-Minister of Culture announced the country might establish another Naguib Mahfouz Prize for Arabic Literature. Of course, there’s already an annual Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, sponsored by the American University Press, the winner of which will be announced tomorrow.
Friend and heir to Mahfouz literary legacy dies
Novelist Gamal al-Ghitani died in October at the age of 70.
Mahfouz now part of the Western canon?
In a curious NYTimes “Bookends” piece this July, Francince Prose argues that Naguib Mahfouz should be added to “the” canon. Well, sort of. She stuffs him in right at the very end of her question-marked list.
And on the evergreen list:
FROM MAHFOUZ’S TRANSLATORS
‘HOW I MET MAHFOUZ’ SERIES
Margaret Litvin: Meeting Mahfouz: An Evening at the Nadwa
Gada Mahfud Dhiem: How I Met Naguib Mahfouz: ‘He’s Always Been in My Life’
MORE MAHFOUZ MEMORIES
Mohamed Salmawy: Memories of Naguib Mahfouz and the Movies
From AUC Press: Faten Mahfouz speaks about her Nobel laureate father
CRITICISM AND TEACHING RESOURCES