On the occasion of late Egyptian writer and Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz’s 100th birthday, the American University in Cairo (AUC) has decided to dedicate this year’s Mahfouz Prize – usually given to the authors of contemporary Arabic-language novels – to the Egyptian people.
Given that the centennial coincides with a turning point in Egypt’s ongoing revolution, the Mahfouz Award Committee has decided to give the prestigious prize to what it describes as “the revolutionary literary creativity of the Egyptian people.”
“Over the past year, Egyptians have articulated their ownership of space, body and language through a myriad of creative, performative and cultural practices whose semiotics, aesthetics and poetics have not only inspired sister uprisings worldwide but have also created sustaining solidarities throughout the world,” said committee member Samia Mehrez.
Notably, AUC’s downtown campus lies adjacent to the flashpoint Mohamed Mahmoud Street, on which more than 40 protesters were killed and thousands injured in violent clashes with security forces last month. AUC reportedly plans to dedicate one wall of its building to a mural commemorating the revolution.