The 2016 award ceremony of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature is set to take place today at the AUC Tahrir Campus:
The winner of the annual award — which includes the medal, a $1,000 prize, and a contract for translation with AUC Press — is set to be announced at 6:30 p.m. Cairo time.
This year’s prize will be given in the presence of Egyptian Minister of Culture Helmy Namnam. The year’s judges are Tahia Abdel Nasser, Shereen Abouelnaga, Humphrey Davies, Rasheed El-Enany, and Mona Tolba.
The award was first given in 1996, to joint winners Ibrahim Abdel Meguid and Latifa al-Zayyat for their classic novels The Other Place and The Open Door. Up until recently, it continued as it was in the first year, a remarkably gender-balanced prize, although the last four have all gone to male writers: Hassan Daoud (2015, No Road to Paradise), Hammour Ziada (2014, The Longing of the Dervish), Khaled Khalifa (2013, No Knives in the Kitchens of This City), and Ezzat El Kamhawi (2012, House of the Wolf). The full list of winners is available at the AUC Press website.
The prize is awarded to a book of “literary excellence” published in the two previous years; books eligible for this year’s prize must have been published in 2015 or 2016.
Since the establishment of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) in 2008, there has been some overlap between the two prizes, with Naguib Mahfouz Medal winners Brooklyn Heights, No Knives, and Longing of the Dervish all going on to make the IPAF shortlists in their respective years. No writer has taken the Mahfouz medal more than once.
You can come back at 6:30 p.m. Cairo time, or follow @AUCPress to learn the 2016 winner.