The Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature


The Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature

Since 1996 the AUC Press has presented the annual Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, a major award in support of contemporary Arabic literature in translation.

The award, consisting of a silver medal and a cash prize, as well as translation and publication throughout the English-speaking world, is presented annually on 11 December, the birthday of Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, by the President of the American University in Cairo in the presence of the Minister of Culture and many other prominent leaders of Egypt’s cultural life.

The Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature is awarded for the best contemporary novel published in Arabic (but not yet in English) in the last two years and is selected every fall by the Mahfouz Award Committee, which includes Ibrahim Nasrallah, acclaimed writer, novelist, and literary critic; Hebba Sherif, writer, literary critic, and cultural consultant; Samah Selim, translator and associate professor of Arabic language and literature at Rutgers University in the US; Shereen Abouelnaga, literary critic and professor of English and comparative literature at Cairo University; and Humphrey Davies, award-winning translator of Arabic literature into English.  The award-winning book is subsequently translated and published in an English-language edition by the AUC Press in Cairo, New York, and London.

Welcoming the award, Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz said: “The announcement of this award honoring writers and literature is the most pleasurable event on my birthday. I hope that this prize will also help to discover new talents in Arabic literature and introduce them to readers around the world.”

The American University in Cairo Press is the primary English-language publisher of Naguib Mahfouz and has published or licensed some 600 foreign-language editions of the Nobel laureate’s works in 40 languages.

The 24 winners of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature since its inauguration include 10 women, 14 men; 12 Egyptians (2 posthumously), 3 Palestinians, 1 Algerian, 2 Lebanese, 1 Moroccan, 2 Syrians, 1 Iraqi, 1 Sudanese, and 1 Saudi Arabian.

2018: Omaima Al-Khamis, Voyage of the Cranes in the Cities of Agate
2017: Huzama Habayeb, Velvet
2016: Adel Esmat, Tales of Yusuf Tadrus
2015: Hassan Daoud, No Road to Paradise
2014: Hammour Ziada, The Longing of the Dervish
2013: Khaled Khalifa, No Knives in the Kitchens of This City
2012: Ezzat El Kamhawi, House of the Wolf
2011: The Revolutionary Literary Creativity of the Egyptian People
2010: Miral al-Tahawy, Brooklyn Heights
2009: Khalil Sweileh, Writing Love
2008: Hamdi Abu Golayyel, A Dog with No Tail
2007: Amina Zaydan, Red Wine
2006: Sahar Khalifeh, The Image, the Icon, and the Covenant
2005: Yusuf Abu Rayya, Wedding Night
2004: Alia Mamdouh, The Loved Ones
2003: Khairy Shalaby, The Lodging House
2002: Bensalem Himmich, The Polymath
2001: Somaya Ramadan, Leaves of Narcissus
2000: Hoda Barakat, The Tiller of Waters
1999: Edwar al-Kharrat, Rama and the Dragon
1998: Ahlam Mosteghanemi, Memory in the Flesh
1997: Mourid Barghouti, I Saw Ramallah, and Yusuf Idris, City of Love and Ashes
1996: Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, The Other Place; and Latifa al-Zayyat, The Open Door

How to Enter for the 2019 Award

mahfouz_award_invitationsThe winner of the 2019 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature will be announced at a ceremony at the American University in Cairo on 11 December 2019. The Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature is awarded annually on the basis of the literary excellence of the work as agreed by a panel of judges. The Award Committee meets in the spring of each year to review the submitted novels, and in the fall the judges make a final decision prior to the award ceremony on 11 December.

In September, the committee will announce a shortlist for the prize. Further information will be announced in October 2019.

Anyone can nominate a novel by giving the full bibliographical information of the work and contact information of the author and the original publisher. Any Arabic novel published anywhere in the world in 2018 or 2017 but not yet translated into English is eligible for the 2019 award. Authors can also nominate their works and send six copies of their book, along with a copy of their CV, with address, telephone, and email information. The AUC Press will acknowledge receipt of works, but only winners will be contacted thereafter, and books will not be returned to senders.

The AUC Press recommends that works or nominations sent to the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for the 2019 award reach the AUC Press no later than 15 February 2019. All correspondence, inquiries, and contacts for the Mahfouz Medal award should be addressed to:

Mahfouz Award Committee
c/ o The American University in Cairo Press
113 Kasr El Aini Street
P.O. Box 2511
Cairo, Egypt

For more information, contact:
Nadine El-Hadi
Tel: (+20 2) 2797 6379