Omaima Al-Khamis was announced the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Arabic Literature 2018 winner at a ceremony in Cairo, Egypt on December 11, 2018.
Naguib Mahfouz was an Egyptian writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988 and passed on in 2006. In 1996, the American University in Cairo Press set up the annual Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, a major award in support of contemporary Arabic literature in translation.
Some of the previous winners of the prize are Huzama Habayeb (2017), Adel Esmat (2016), Hassan Daoud (2015), Hammour Ziada (2014), Khaled Khalifa (2013), Ezzat El Kamhawi (2012), The Revolutionary Literary Creativity of the Egyptian People (2011), Miral al-Tahawy (2010), and Khalil Sweileh (2009).
The Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Arabic Literature judges this year were Tahia Abdel Nasser, Shereen Abouelnaga, Mona Tolba, Humphrey Davies, and Rasheed El-Enany. This team announced the winner of this year’s award on December 11 which is the birthday of the fallen literary ancestor who was born in 1911.
Saudi author Omaima Al-Khamis won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature 2018 for her fourth novel, Masra al-Gharaniq fi Mudun al-Aqiq (Voyage of the Cranes over the Agate Cities). The award was presented by Ehab Abdel Rahman, provost of the American University in Cairo.
On receiving the award, Khamis paid tribute to Naguib Mahfouz describing the late legendary novelist as “Our great writer who taught us the magic and craft of story telling.” She thanked her parents for shaping her mind, “The book was a vision of our house,” said the Saudi writer, recalling the piles of books that surrounded her growing up.