The awards of the ninth term of Sawiris Cultural Awards were announced on Tuesday in a ceremony held at the small hall of Cairo Opera House. A number of Egyptian Ministers, intellectuals and celebrities attended.
Sameeh Sawiris, the sponsor of the prize, said that the winners presented great works that asserted the abilities of Egyptian youth to produce creativity, which needs to be encouraged.
The author’s prizes went to writer and Ahram Online's book critic Mahmoud El-Wardani for his novel Beit ElNar (House of Fire), which he shared with Huda Ahmed for her novel R’ait Rowhy Bag’a (I’ve Seen Myself as Swan).
The prize for short story collection went to writer Yasser Abdel-Latif for his collection Younis Fi Ahsha’a ElHoot (Younis in the Stomach of the Whale).
Young writer Mohamed Abdel-Naby, won the best novel award for emerging writers for his novel Rogo’ Ashikh (The Return of the Sheikh). Amr Mostafa Ashour won the second place in the novel awards for Keis Aswad Thaqil (Heavy Black Bag), which he shared with young writer Ibrahim Abdel-Ghany for his novel Mathaf AlNissian (Museum of Forgetness).
Writer Ahmed Abdallah won the prize of the best scenario for established writers for Leilet Eid (A Feasts Night). Amr Khaled won the prize of the best scenario for emerging writers for AlAberoon (The Passers).
Osama Abdel-Fattah won the prize of the best play for his Maat.
Young writer Mahmoud Tawfik won the first prize of the best short story collection for emerging writers, for his novel Blue. The second place was shared by Hany Abdel-Mourid and Ahmed Said for their collections Asatir AlAwaleen (The Myths of the Ancestors) and Ka’anouh Hay (As If it Is Alive).
Egyptian Minister of Culture Saber Arab, Minister of High Education Hossam Eissa, and former ministers of culture Emad Abu-Ghazi and Shaker Abdel-Hamid, attended the ceremony in addition to actresses Youssra, Ilham Shahin, Madlin Tabar, Samiha Ayoub, Leila Elwy and Bushra.
The judging panel was headed by former minister of education Ahmed Gamal Eddin and included critics Hussein Hammouda, Mohamed Badawy, Mona Tolba.
The big surprise of the judging panel was the ex-Muslim Brotherhood leader, Tharwat El-Kherebawy, who is known for his vehement criticism against the Brotherhood. The choice of El-Kherebawy as a member of the panel, didn’t go unquestioned as critics and journalists questioned his literary value and judgment.
The head of the panel also received the same criticism, as he’s not known for being a writer or a novelist. Some people deem him as a lover of literature.
The Sawiris Cultural Award is a prestigious Egyptian literary prize established in 2005 by the Sawiris Foundation, a human development organisation set up by the wealthy Sawiris family. The award ceremony, which has a top prize of LE100,000, was described by the late Egyptian author Ibrahim Aslan as one of the most important literary awards in Egypt.