AUC Press is delighted that Mohamed Elshahed’s Cairo since 1900: An Architectural Guide (AUC Press, 2020) was shortlisted for the first iteration of the Peter Mackenzie-Smith book prize, awarded by the British-Egyptian Society. The award ceremony was held on March 28 at the Army and Navy Club in London’s St. James’s Square, and attended by over a hundred guests, including distinguished members of the capital’s cultural, intellectual, and diplomatic community, and representatives of the publishers of the shortlisted titles.
The £5,000 Peter Mackenzie-Smith prize is awarded for the book that best improves an understanding of Egypt. Particular consideration is given to books attracting a wide readership in the English speaking world. In awarding the prize, the judges assess how well the book enhances the understanding of Egypt to a wider audience but also consider the book’s originality, clarity, and accessibility and its importance to the field for which it is written.
Cairo since 1900 was one of six titles shortlisted for the award. In their citation, the judges praised the book for “the scale of its achievements, excellent photographs, profound scholarship and meticulous research,” describing it as “a labour of love by Mohamed Elshahed, an author who also wants to stimulate greater efforts to preserve Cairo’s modernist architectural heritage,” adding that “there is nothing else on Cairo like it available in English.” Copies of the book were displayed and sold at the event.
Dr. Noel Brehony, Chairman of the Judges, talking about Cairo since 1900
Elshahed, who holds a PhD from New York University and an MA from MIT, is a researcher, curator, and specialist on architecture, design, and material culture in Egypt. His book is the first comprehensive architectural guide to the constructions that have shaped and continue to shape the Egyptian capital since the early twentieth century. Arranged by geographical area, it includes entries for more than 220 buildings and sites of note, each entry consisting of concise, explanatory text describing the building and its significance accompanied by photographs, drawings, and maps.