Karim Ghantous. Source: Unsplash
CAIRO – 22 August 2017: In Cairo, the first award for the electronic novel started with electronic publishing, as a quick and direct way for communication between the writer and the reader, coming in vogue.
The Memphis Award is given to 10 Arab creative works around the world, and targets all the novels not published on paper, whether through electronic publishing houses or published by their own writers.
The 37 year-old writer and novelist Marwan Mohamed Abdou, the founder of the Memphis Award for the Arab Electronic Novel, said that all literary awards in the Arab world, whether in novel or story, require that the work be published on paper or be never published anywhere even through electronic means. “This is an exclusion of electronic publishing, so I thought about the idea of an award for the electronic novel,” Abdou explained
The award derives its name from the ancient Egyptian city Memphis which dates back to earlier than the 31st century BC, and was the capital of the third to sixth dynasties up to the 7th century AD.
Every electronic publishing house on the Internet has the right to apply to the award by sending five novels maximum, while allowing each writer to apply with only one novel. The nomination time started in July and continues till the end of August, and all the works applied with must be produced in 2017.
There are seven arbitrators for the award from Egypt, Syria, Jordon, and Algeria and all of them are volunteers.
As for what he’s aiming for the development of the award, Abdou said there are no guarantees that the award will continue because there are no sources of funding. However, Abdou hopes that the first edition of the award would be a great success which will help in taking the next steps.
The arbitration committee will announce a long list of the awards including 20 novels, but the shortlist of the 10 winning novels will be announced in December.