"More from 2020 in the afterlife of Naguib Mahfouz."
Yesterday, the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) announced the longlists for the 2020 National Translation Awards (NTA) in Poetry and Prose. Two works translated from Arabic -- a novel and a collection of interlinked short stories -- made the twelve-book longlist for prose.
"He was an all-round writer with a strong social conscience, and after seeing how he reflected on society and its ills through the indirect allegorical lens of fiction I thought it would be interesting to see how he addressed the issues that concerned him through the more direct medium of a regular newspaper column."
"I was trying to explore what I've been calling 'Mahfouz's Sufi Noir,' to see how and why he was drawn to both crime-writing and Sufi storytelling and the same time. When I read 'Culprit Unknown,' I couldn't believe how much it was like a detective story—and that it hadn't been translated yet!"
"We can’t know what Mahfouz intended to do with the fictions collected into 'The Quarter'. He might have considered them complete and ready for publication, or they might have been the seeds of a new novel."
The Egyptian Ministry of Culture "defeated many challenges to complete all the works and equipment of Naguib Mahfouz Museum, stressing that what has been accomplished is a pride for all Egyptians and it reflects the country's concern to preserve the historical vocabulary that formed its soft power."
"Yes, he was king, and this room was the capital of his kingdom, and the roof was the rest of this great country."
In later years, he said that he had lost the manuscript due to a "family robbery," when a relative pilfered papers from his old house and sold them off.
"It’s all so damn tantalizing, you know?"
Saqi Books announced today that they will publish the as-yet-untitled collection, in Roger Allen's translation, in autumn 2019.
They are set to come out on December 11, Mahfouz's birthday, which also falls during the 2018 Beirut Arab Book Fair. Dar al-Saqi will publish the collection under the title chosen by Mahfouz's daughter, "همس النجوم" (The Whisper of Stars).
"The tarboush as male headgear is now an historical relic. But what about its symbolic force of national and patriarchal privilege? The artist makes us ponder whether this privilege has gone with the tarboush itself as he ushers us into disquieting yet intriguing spaces. Disruptions and continuities haunt the pinpricks of his Qarboush."