Newly Revealed Nobel Archives: Tawfiq al-Hakim Was Up for 1969 Prize

The Nobel Prize for Literature keeps their archives sealed for 50 years. The Complete Review reports that the 1969 archives are now in the public domain:

The 1969 Nobel — which was awarded to Samuel Beckett — was apparently a showdown between Beckett and André Malraux.

The complete list of 1969 nominees is now available. There were 103 authors nominated, including 28 first-time nominees who are marked with an X in the list.

Among the first-time nominees were writers who went on to win — such as Elias Canetti and Alexandr Solzhenitsyn — and some who didn’t, including Egyptian playwright and novelist Tawfiq al-Hakim.

It notes only that he was nominated by Shawky Deif.

Al-Hakim is remembered as a playwright — and it’s generally agreed that’s where he had the most impact — but he also wrote essays, memoir, short stories, and biting novels. Last year, the long-running Penguin Classics series finally released its first “classic” novel translated from Arabic: Al-Hakim’s Return of the Spirit, conveyed into English by William Hutchins.

Taha Hussein was also nominated in 1969, although he was not a newcomer to the list, and was the first Arabophone author to make his way into Nobel nominations, for which he was nominated at least fourteen times.