Huzama Habayeb wins the 2017 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature

The Palestinian author Huzama Habayeb was awarded the 2017 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature this evening in Cairo, for her powerful work Velvet, described by the judges as a new kind of Palestinian novel.
The timely book focuses on the harsh everyday life of Hawwa, an ordinary yet strong and resilient Palestinian woman who lives in a refugee camp in Jordan during the 1960s and 1970s.
“It is a novel of women exhausted by violation, misery, and repression, able to capture joy in the midst of oppression,” explained Habayeb in her very emotional address during the ceremony on the AUC Tahrir Square Campus, attended by the AUC community, writers, and distinguished guests of Egypt’s literary milieu.
“Hawwa makes from the texture of velvet a motif colored with several connotations to protect her from falling into the abyss of despair and madness,” notes committee member Abouelnaga in her citations.

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