At 6 p.m. Cairo time, the winner of the 2015 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature will be made public:
This year’s panel of judges is made up of scholars and translator-scholars: Tahia Abdel Nasser, Shereen Abouelnaga, Mona Tolba, Humphrey Davies, and Rasheed El-Enany. As in past years, a shortlist has not been announced.
Last year’s Mahfouz Medal winner was Sudanese writer Hammour Ziada’s The Longing of the Dervish, which went on to be shortlisted for the 2015 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). The previous year’s winner, Khaled Khalifa’s No Knives in the Kitchens of This City, was similarly shortlisted for the 2014 IPAF. Neither has yet been translated into English.
The winner to have most recently appeared in English was Ezzat El-Kamhawi’s multigenerational novel House of the Wolf, translated by Nancy Roberts.
Other previous winners include Bensalem Himmich’s ground-breaking The Polymath, Hoda Barakat’s beautiful The Tiller of Waters, Mourid Barghouti’s moving I Saw Ramallah, among others. Miral al-Tahawy’s Brooklyn Heights, which won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal in 2010 and was also shortlisted for the IPAF. The Mahfouz Medal and the IPAF are perhaps the two sole awards to show significant overlap.
The Mahfouz award, which is usually announced each year on Mahfouz’s birthday, was first given in 1996.
Naguib Mahfouz Medal winners receive the medal and a $1,000 prize. They’re also offered a contract for translation with AUC Press.