When Sotheby’s announced last week that a highly significant archive of materials belonging to the Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz was scheduled for auction, it sparked considerable interest in Egypt. The items are scheduled for sale this Thursday, 15 December, four days after the author’s birth centenary. Sotheby’s did not identify the seller.
Shakir Abdel Hamid, the Minister of Culture, has announced that the ministry is taking urgent measures to stop this auction.
Abdel Hamid said that after Sotheby's announcement last week, he received numerous inquiries from the intellectual community. He then contacted the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr, who has since contacted the Egyptian Ambassador in London and asked him to take urgent action to stop the auction.