Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature Will Switch to Shortlist System

Mark your Arabic lit-prize calendar for September 16. For the first time since the award was established in 1996, the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature will announce a shortlist for the prize:

This re-structuring puts the twenty-three-year-old prize more in line with other, newer Arabic literary prizes, most particularly the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF).

The Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature was established by the American University in Cairo Press, with support from Egypt’s only Nobel laureate for literature. The 2019 prize will be awarded to the best “Arabic novel published anywhere in the world in 2018 or 2017 but not yet translated into English[.]”

There has been occasional overlap with IPAF shortlists, starting with the 2010 winner, Miral al-Tahawy, Brooklyn Heights, which was on the following year’s IPAF shortlist. Last year’s winner Omaima Al-Khamis for Voyage of the Cranes in the Cities of Agate,made the IPAF longlist, but not the shortlist.

However, the lists have also diverged.

In the past, the five-person jury that selected the Naguib Mahfouz winner was largely unchanged from year to year. Not so for the 2019 jury, which was also announced last week. The 2019 jury will be made up of: novelist Ibrahim Nasrallah; writer and critic Hebba Sherif, translator-scholar Samah Selim; critic-scholar Shereen Abouelnaga; and translator Humphrey Davies.

The award prize has also been increased to $3000. The winner further receives a silver medal and translation and publication by AUC Press’s fiction imprint, Hoopoe.

The winner has traditionally been announced on December 11, the anniversary of Mahfouz’s birth.

This fall, the 2017 Mahfouz Medal winner, Huzama Habayeb’s Velvetwill be released in Kay Heikkinen’s translation.

The rest of the winners:

2016: Adel Esmat, Tales of Yusuf Tadrustranslated by Mandy McClure

2015: Hassan Daoud, No Road to Paradise, translated by Marilyn Booth

2014: Hammour Ziada, The Longing of the Dervish, translated by Jonathan Wright

2013: Khaled Khalifa, No Knives in the Kitchens of This City, translated by Leri Price

2012: Ezzat El Kamhawi, House of the Wolf, translated by Nancy Roberts

2011: The Revolutionary Literary Creativity of the Egyptian People

2010: Miral al-Tahawy, Brooklyn Heights, translated by Samah Selim

2009: Khalil Sweileh, Writing Love, translated by Alexa Firat

2008: Hamdi Abu Golayyel, A Dog with No Tailtranslated by Robin Moger

2007: Amina Zaydan, Red Wine, translated by Sally Gomaa

2006: Sahar Khalifeh, The Image, the Icon, and the Covenant, translated by Aida Bamia

2005: Yusuf Abu Rayya, Wedding Night, translated by Neil Hewison

2004: Alia Mamdouh, The Loved Ones, translated by Marilyn Booth

2003: Khairy Shalaby, The Lodging House, translated by Farouk Abdel Wahab

2002: Bensalem Himmich, The Polymath, translated by Roger Allen

2001: Somaya Ramadan, Leaves of Narcissus, translated by Marilyn Booth

2000: Hoda Barakat, The Tiller of Waters, translated by Marilyn Booth

1999: Edwar al-Kharrat, Rama and the Dragon, translated by Ferial Ghazoul and John Verlenden

1998: Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Memory in the Flesh, translated by Peter Clark

1997: Mourid Barghouti, I Saw Ramallah, translated by Ahdaf Soueif; and Yusuf Idris, City of Love and Ashes, translated by Neil Hewison

1996: Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, The Other Place, translated by Farouk Abdel Wahab; and Latifa al-Zayyat, The Open Door, translated by Marilyn Booth