Congratulations to EGyptian writer, Adel Esmat, on winning the 2016 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature for his novel Hikayat Yusuf Tadrus (The Tales of Yusuf Tadrus)

 The award is named after Naguib Mahfouz, Egyptian writer and winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature. He is regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature, along with Tawfiq el-Hakim, to explore themes of existentialism.


The Tales of Yusuf Tadrus (Kotob Khan, 2015) is his fifth novel. The author, born in Gharbiya in 1959, previously won a State Encouragement Award for his novel Days of the Blue Windows. With this prize, Esmat wins a medal, $1,000, and a contract for translation into English from AUC Press.

The award, which comes just a day after a horrific bombing at a Coptic church in Cairo killed 25, addresses the difficult situation of Egypt’s Coptic Christians.

Esmat, like Naguib Mahfouz, initially studied philosophy, but went on to do a degree in library science, and now works as a library specialist in the Egyptian Ministry of Education. In addition to his five novels, he is also the author of a short-story collection, Qusasat (Cuttings).

Read the rest of the story here and his acceptance speech here