Empty Cages Wins the Naguib Mahfouz Award for Literature from the American University in Cairo | culture

Yesterday, Sunday, the Egyptian poet and academic Fatima Qandil won the 25th edition of the Naguib Mahfouz Prize for Literature, which is presented annually by the American University in Cairo Press.

Fatima Qandil won the award, which was established in 1996 and is presented annually on the birthday of the writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature, for her novel “Empty Cages”, published by the Khan Book Publishing House.

After receiving the award at the old headquarters of the American University in Tahrir Square, she said, “It is fortunate for me, I think, that I am from this generation that was blessed to wait for a new book by Naguib Mahfouz. It is fortunate that I received these books fresh to change the paths of my life.”

She added, “I used to receive them as successive letters that were written for me alone. I would be alone with them and put lines and margins around her favorite sayings until they became an intimate part of my soul.”

And she went on to say, “If there is a lesson among the many lessons that I learned from Naguib Mahfouz that I can talk about now, it is to see a person as he is, not as he should be, to see him in his confusion, weakness, and yearning for the impossible.”

The value of the prize is $5,000, in addition to a silver medal printed with a picture of Naguib Mahfouz, with the book being translated into English and published in a series of publications by the American University in Cairo Publishing House, which specializes in novels, under the name “Hobo.”

The President of the American University in Cairo, Ahmed Dallal, said at the award ceremony, “Naguib Mahfouz’s creativity established him as an undisputed reference for the Arabic novel, and dug for the Arabic novel its place in the cultural arena. It is not easy to talk about him and his literary legacy in a few lines.”

He added, “While we are trying to preserve this legacy, we do so by providing opportunities for Arab youth, as he wanted, to show, develop and develop his literary talents to become a renewed embodiment of what Naguib Mahfouz represents in our collective memory and his deep impact on contemporary Arab literature.”

The jury for this session, headed by Sherine Abul Naga, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cairo University, received more than 150 novels from various Arab countries.

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