Youssef Rakha’s ‘Paolo,’ Saad Abdel-Fattah’s ‘Grass’ Win Top Sawiris Prizes of 2017

On Monday night, one of the glitteriest and most well-respected awards of the Egyptian literature season announced its winners. Among the Sawiris Cultural Prize awardees are Youssef Rakha’s Paulo and Mohammad Abdelnaby’s In the Spider’s Room, which is set to appear this fall in Jonathan Wright’s translation:

The ceremony, held at the Cairo Opera House, was hosted by popular Egyptian actor Ahmed Helmi.

Most of the book-title translations are taken from Ahram Online:

Best Novel by an Established Author

Youssef Rakha’s Paulo. Rakha’s two previous novels — Sultan’s Seal (translated by Paul Starkey) and Crocodiles (translated by Robin Moger) are available in translation. You can read an excerpt of Paulo, in Moger’s translation, online.

Saad Abdel-Fattah’s Grass.

Best Short-story Collection by an Established Author

Said Noah’s Kiosk of Tumors. 

Samar Nour’s In the Vampire’s House.

Best Novel by an Emerging Writer

The first prize was split between two novels. They were:

Ali Sayed’s A Parallel Woman

Mohamed Abdel-Naby’s In the Spider’s Room, forthcoming this fall in Jonathan Wright’s excellent translation.

Second prize was also split between two novels:

Ahmed Shawqy Ali’s Tales of Beauty and Sadness

Mina Hany’s The Place of Your Absence.

Best Short-story Collection by an Emerging Writer

First prize was split between two winners. They were:

Amir Zaki’s Suicide Line.

Mohammed Aladdin’s The Season of Migration to Arkadia. You can read the collection’s title story, in Humphrey Davies’ excellent translation, online.

The second prize was split between:

Marc Amgad’s Anthem of the General

Sherine Fathy’s The Star Shouldn’t Be Fat

Best Scenario by an Established Writer

Islam Azizi’s About Her

Best Scenario by an Emerging Writer

Rasha Ezzat’s The Last of the Mohicans

Best Playwright

First prize went to Eissa Gamal, for The Last Hour of the Colonel’s Lifewhile second went to Tamer Abdel-Hamid, for Once Upon a Time, O Manikin and Yasmin Imam, for One Pair of Shoes Fits All.