Egypt’s Supreme Council for Culture today announced the winners of its big “Naguib Mahfouz Award” in both the “Best Egyptian Novel” and “Best Arabic Novel” categories:
The “Best Egyptian Novel” went to Reem Bassiouney for her bestselling 2018 novel Welad el-Nass (or The Mamluk Trilogy), while the “Best Arabic Novel” went to Mohammed Abdellatif for his 2018 novel Kitab al-Rada (Book of Apostasy).
Each category comes with a prize of 75,000 Egyptian pounds.
Reem Bassiouney’s novel — on the bestseller lists of both the 2019 and 2020 Cairo Book Fairs — tells the story of a Mamluk ruler who chooses a bride from a middle-class Egyptian family, while Mohammed Abdellatif’s novel, according to one reviewer, is a peripatetic journey that ranges over the phenomenon of misyar marriage, the Iraq war, Mauritanian sex work, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Arabi, Maliki, Hanbali, cigarettes, vodka, and the Mauritanian Valley.”
This is award is not related to the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, organized by AUC Press and awarded each December 11.
Melanie Magidow – Mamluk Cairo Comes Alive in Bassiouney’s Trilogy