Crowd of Egypt's artists gathered in front of the opera's small hall prior to the ceremony opening. (Photo: Soha Elsirgany)
Winners of the 2015 Sawiris Cultural Awards were announced in a ceremony held yesterday, 12 January, at the Cairo Opera House Small Hall.
The Sawiris Cultural Award was handed to artists in six different fields: best novel and story collection for established writers; best novel and short story collection for emerging writers; best film script for established writers, best film script for emerging writers; best theatre script; and best work of literary criticism.
The award’s board of trustees includes seven active members: Ismail Serageldin, Zahi Hawass, Shams El-Etreby, Mohamed Abo El-Ghar, Mona Thu Al-Fuqar, Gaber Asfour and Hoda El-Sadda.
Best script award for established writers went to screenwriter Wessam Soliman for her script Okhti. The judging panel was headed by film critic Ali Abou Shadi and comprised scriptwriter Besheer El-Deek, scriptwriter Abd El-Reheem Kamal, writer and film critic Kamal Ramzy, and writer and director Hala Khalil.
Best script award for emerging writers went to Mohamed Mahrous for his script Dawaier Al-Saada. The judging panel was headed by film director Yousry Nasrallah and included film director Magdy Ahmed Ali, film director Mohamed Kamel El-Qalyoubi, Professor Salma Mubarak, and cinematographer Samir Farag.
As for the best theatre script award, Metwaly Hamed won first prize for his script Al-Hagez. The second prize was shared by Hamdy Eid for his script Goha Wa Baqaret Al-Sultan, and Waleed Alaa El-Din for his script 72 Saaa Aafw.
The judging panel was headed by theatre director Essam El-Sayyed and comprised Professor Iman Ezz El-Din, Professor Dina Amin, theatre director Lenin El-Ramly and theatre director Nasser Abd El-Moneim.
El-Sayyed said: “We were taught that a play is incomplete without the stage. These scripts need to be published so that people can read them and adapt them to stage.”
He added that all the submissions to the award were of great quality, yet it was a shame that many very well written scripts in Egypt don’t see the light because of a lack of interest in publishing them, hindering their exposure.
In response, Sameeh Sawiris, sponsor of the prize, said in the ceremony’s closing statement: “I didn’t realise there was that gap in publishing theatre texts.”
He went on to proclaim the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development would be publishing the awarded theatre script in coming editions of the award.
The Sawiris Cultural Award is a prestigious Egyptian 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.
For more arts and culture news and updates, follow Ahram Online Arts and Culture on Twitter at @AhramOnlineArts and on Facebook at Ahram Online: Arts & Culture