The Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature

The Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature consists of a cash prize of US$5,000, and publication worldwide in English translation by the American University in Cairo Press.

It will be awarded every 2 years on December 11, the anniversary of Naguib Mahfouz’s birth. The next winner will be announced on 11 December 2024.

The shortlist will be announced on August 30, 2024 and the winner will be announced on December 11, 2024.

Rules of entry

  • The award is open to contemporary novels, written and published in Arabic anywhere in the world, with a copyright date of 2022 or 2023, which have not yet been translated and published in English.
  • Novellas, short story collections, or poetry collections are not eligible. Self-published novels are not eligible. Submissions may be made by the author or the publisher. The author must be living at the time of submission.
  • By submitting a novel, the author or publisher (depending on who holds the English-language rights) are considered to have agreed that, in the event of their novel winning, it will be translated into English and published worldwide by AUC Press.
  • By submitting a novel, the author is considered to have agreed to be available for promotional activities such as media appearances related to the award and/or necessary travel within the Arab world.
  • AUC Press reserves the right to reject any submission that does not comply with the rules of entry.
  • The judging panel’s decision is final.

How to submit

To apply, publishers or authors must submit five copies (one for each of the judges) of the printed book to AUC Press office (address below), fill out this Google form, send a PDF of the book, provide a digital cover image and author photo either through the form or via email: [email protected]

Att. Ms. Margaret Ghobrial
The Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature
The American University in Cairo Press
AUC Tahrir Campus
113 Kasr El Aini Street
P.O. Box 2511, Cairo 11511
Tel: +202 2797 6926

The 5 copies, the PDF, the completed submission form, the book cover, the photograph of the author MUST ALL be received by the AUC Press for a submission to be accepted. Any incomplete submission will be disregarded.

About 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 is a cash prize of US$5,000, and the translation and publication of the winning novel throughout the English-speaking world, and 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 Egyptian 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 2022 or 2023, selected by the Mahfouz Award Committee, which is headed this round by award-winning literary translator Sarah Enany.

Enany is a professor in the English Department of Cairo University and is a recipient of the prestigious Banipal Prize for Literary Translation for her translation of The Girl with Braided Hair by Rasha Adly (Hoopoe, 2020) and has translated The Book Smuggler by Omaima Al-Khamis (Hoopoe,2021)and the Jewish Muslim trilogy by the late Kamal Ruhayyim.

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.

Previous Winners of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature

The 27 winners of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature since its inauguration include 13 Egyptians (2 posthumously), 3 Palestinians, 3 Algerians, 2 Lebanese, 1 Moroccan, 2 Syrians, 1 Iraqi, 1 Sudanese, and 1 Saudi Arabian:

2022: Fatma Qandil, Empty Cages
2020 (awarded in March 2021): Ahmed Taibaoui, The Disappearance of Mr. Nobody
2018: Omaima Al-Khamis, The Book Smuggler
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