Saudi novelist Omaima al-Khamis receives the award CC via AUC - Press photo
CAIRO – 13 December 2018: The American University in Cairo Press announced Dec. 12 that Saudi novelist Omaima al-Khamis won the 2018 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature for her novel "Masra al-Gharaniq fi Mudun al-‘Aqiq"(Voyage of the Cranes in the Cities of Agate).
The winner was agreed upon by members of the Award's Committee: Tahia Abdel Nasser, Shereen Aboul Naga and Mona Tolba, Humphrey Davies and Rasheed el-Enany. The award was presented by Ehab Abdel Rahman, provost of the American University in Cairo.
FILE - Late legendary novelist Naguib Mahfouz
The ceremony was held at the AUC’s Oriental Hall in Tahrir Square Campus and was attended by many writers and significant personalities of the Egyptian cultural scene.
The committee described "Masra al-Gharaniq fi Mudun al-Aqiq" as “a serious novel that speaks to our time through history.It takes the form of a journey from Arabia northwards and westwards to Andalusia through the great cities of the Arab world in the 11th century during the titular rule of the weakened Abbasids in Baghdad, the Fatimids in Cairo, and the warring factions of the Islamic rule in Spain.”
The Saudi writer succeeded in shedding light upon the essence of the cultural and religious diversity in the Arab world between 402 and 405 Hijri.
After being granted the award, Khamis paid tribute to Naguib Mahfouz describing the late legendary novelist as “Our great writer who taught us the magic and craft of story telling.”
Khamis thanked her parents for shaping her mind, “The book was a vision of our house,” said the Saudi writer,recalling the piles of books that surrounded her growing up.
The American University in Cairo Press, which established the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 1996, has been the main publisher of Naguib Mahfouz’s English editions for more than three decades.
The AUC has also been responsible for publishing around 600 editions of the Nobel laureate’s works in more than 40 languages around the world since late legendary writer Mahfouz won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988.
Nominations and submissions for the 2019 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature are open until 15 February 2019.