Never-before-seen Naguib Mahfouz handwritten memoirs to be published in daughter's book

Mohammed Saad , Tuesday 23 Aug 2022

New never-before-seen handwritten memoirs by the only Arab Nobel laureate writer, Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006), will be published in a new book, according to a statement by the late novelist’s daughter.



Oum Kalthoum, the only surviving daughter of Mahfouz, has announced that she is releasing her first book entitled Abi Naguib Mahfouz (“My Father Naguib Mahfouz”).

Her announcement came 10 days short of the 16th anniversary of Mahfouz's passing on 30 August 2006.

The book will include handwritten memoirs by the famous author of the Cairo Trilogy that are being published for the first time.

She is looking for a publishing house that will take her book to print, according to the statement.

“In my book, I try to give a testimony to the history, to wipe away any injustice that has fallen on Naguib Mahfouz, the human being and his family. His creative work does not need a lawyer. In this book I try to lift the injustice off of his family, which was inflicted upon them by people close to them, as well as people, who claimed to be close to my dad and thought of themselves as that they knew him better than his own family. Despite being out of the public eye, and our very rare public appearances, rumours has forced us to defend against charges we did not commit,” she said in a statement.

She did not provide any more details about the claimed injustices and rumours, or how they would be refuted.

Oum Kalthoum said that she is going to tell the story of “Naguib Mahfouz the father, his relationship with his family, and the great role of my mother Attiyat Allah, which many people tried to marginalise, willingly or unwillingly.”

The book will be edited by Al-Ahram journalist Mennatallah Abiad, who recorded more than 10 hours of interviews with Oum Kalthoum, which will represent the crux of the book.

The recordings took place at the Marriott Hotel in Zamalek, where “I opened my heart and my mind to my first book that will reveal the truth.”

On the handwritten memoirs and papers that she will include in the book, Mahfouz’s daughter said “while I was rearranging my father’s private office and organising his papers and books, I found the only memoirs he had written with his own hands. This was the work of an unexpected coincidence.”

She said that these memoirs “reveal many important and hidden aspects of Naguib Mahfouz’s personality.”

New publisher

In December 2021, Oum Kalthoum signed a deal with Diwan Publishing to become the new sole publisher of Mahfouz’s works, after the family’s deal with Dar El-Shorouk, which had held the publishing rights since 2005, lapsed.

Right before their deal lapsed, El-Shorouk announced that it had re-published his full works in new and more affordable editions with new covers.

The complete works were in bookstores on 11 December, the day Mahfouz was born in 1911.

Also in May 2022, the Hindawi Foundation, which provides open access online to journals and papers, will be putting up free copies of Mahfouz’s complete literary works after having signed a contract with his daughter in the previous year.

While the Hindawi Foundation has secured the online publication of his novels, Diwan Books had obtained the right to the print and audio versions of the Nobel laureate’s work.

Naguib Mahfouz had two daughters, Fatima (also known as Faten) and Oum Kalthoum. Fatima died quietly in 2017 at the age of 60; her death was not announced until three weeks after she passed. She was buried next to her father in Giza.

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