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“Mahfouz’s characters blaze with intensity, his Egypt pulsates with unresolved tensions.” –The Atlanta Constitution
“Through works rich in nuance–now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous–Mahfouz has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind.” –The Swedish Academy, The Nobel Prize in Literature
“Mahfouz’s novels provide a voice for his culture.” –The Denver Post
“He is not only a Hugo and a Dickens, but also a Galsworthy, a Mann, a Zola and a Jules Romains.” –Edward Said, London Review of Books
Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo in 1911 and began writing when he was seventeen. A student of philosophy and an avid reader, his works range from reimaginings of ancient myths to subtle commentaries on contemporary Egyptian politics and culture. Over a career that lasted more than five decades, he wrote 33 novels, 13 short story anthologies, numerous plays, and 30 screenplays. Of his many works, most famous is The Cairo Trilogy, consisting of Palace Walk (1956), Palace of Desire (1957), and Sugar Street (1957), which focuses on a Cairo family through three generations, from 1917 until 1952. In 1988, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first writer in Arabic to do so. He died in August 2006.
Anthony Calderbank is the translator of Zaat by Sonallah Ibrahim and two novels by Miral al-Tahawy, The Tent and Blue Aubergine.