Naguib Mahfouz : A Dickens of the Cairo Cafes

Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz wins the literature award

The journalists who gathered in Stockholm's Stock Exchange building to learn the winner of this year's Nobel Prize for Literature were once more caught off guard. Naguib who? The answer: Mahfouz, a 76-year-old Egyptian novelist, playwright and film writer. If the choice was predictably unpredictable, the selection procedure seemed familiar. The Swedish Academy again paddled out of the mainstream, this time heading up the Nile to honor the first Arabic writer in the 87-year history of the prize.

Recognized as the father of the modern Arab novel, Mahfouz is frequently compared with such 19th century social realists as Dickens and Balzac....

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