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After the Nobel Prize 1989-1994

After the Nobel Prize 1989-1994


The Non Fiction Writing of Naguib Mahfouz 

by Naguib Mahfouz

translated by R. Neil Hewison

introduction by Rasheed El-Enany

Format: Hbk, Royal
Published: July 2020
Pages: 436
ISBN: 9781909942134

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Naguib Mahfouz was familiar to newspaper readers across Egypt for his column in the leading daily Al-Ahram, in which he reflected on issues of the day, from domestic and international events, politics and economics to culture. This volume brings together his articles written between January 1989 and the knife attack in October 1994 that almost ended his life. In carefully crafted short texts his social conscience is revealed as he highlights political shortcomings, economic injustice, and corruption in Egypt and the wider Arab world. His philosophical sensitivity comes to the fore as he contemplates the meaning of a historic event, the contribution of an influential person, or what is required to lead a good life. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the New World Order, the Oslo Peace Accords, the spread of terrorism, the Cairo earthquake and even climate change – these and more come under Naguib Mahfouz’s fine scrutiny.

Naguib Mahfouz was the most important Arab writer of his generation. He was the winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature. R. Neil Hewison is an author and translator. He was Associate Director at the American University in Cairo Press. Rasheed El-Enany is Professor Emeritus of Modern Arabic Literature at the University of Exeter.

This is the fourth in a series of Naguib Mahfouz’s non-fiction writings, published for the first time in English translation by Gingko. Click here to view the firstsecond (1974-1981) and third (1982-1988) volumes.

Click here to read an interview with R. Neil Hewison, translator of this volume.


Introduction by Rasheed El-Enany

Translator’s Note by R. Neil Hewison

Towards a Society Not based on Violence

a Long-Term Treasure

Work is a Sacred Trust

This Democracy

Towards a better World

Reason in Everyday Life

A Squall from the World of Darkness

Towards integration and Civilisation

Cultural unity

On Production


War and Peace

A Call to Self-Defence

A Revolution in Education

The Sporting Spirit

Between Defence and Reform

Facing up to Problems

Science and the Cave

The anxieties of Youth

Preaching in the Modern age

Builders and Destroyers

The Meaning of Stability

A house of Wisdom

A Quiet Word Between Brothers

Towards a Better Scientific Life

Work is Life

The aims and the Reality of the July Revolution

To have a Civilised Life

The Prize for Innovation

No Escape from the Inescapable

Saad Zaghloul and the Return of the Spirit

For Democracy, Ever and always

The Workers

Crime in the Media

Illegitimate Legitimacy

Art and History

The Sixth of October

On the intellectual Path

Art and Freedom

Your Health

The People’s Assembly

Nobel 1989

Leave Hopelessness Behind and Get on with it

Storm in the Arab Teacup

A Complaint to the Discerning

The Scheduling of Problems

Towards a Global World

Gifts to Celebrate

Our Hopes for the New Year

Terrorism and Cleansing the Country of Corruption

Examples of the Age

The government’s Path

A Disease Called Dictatorship

An Essential Plan

Diagnosis and Treatment

A Call to Those Who Care about the Political Centre

A National Project

Description de l’Égypte

National Unity

On Culture

In Defence of Serious Culture

The Arab World Facing the Times

The Lifeline

A Call to Self-interest

Sectarianism, Real and Transient

Looking Again

The Summit of Hopes

A Call to hope

Our True Wealth

A New Era

A Call to the Crooked

Driving out the Spectres


Developing the Achievements of the 1952 Revolution

The Electoral System

A Return to Loyalty

Electoral Memories

Inspired by Reality

The Crime and the Mission

Arab Hopes

The Arab Road

The Passing of the Professor

The War of human Shields


War and Peace

Hard Lessons

Who is the Culprit?

The Security Forces

The Line Between Peace and War

A Desirable Step to Peace

The Struggle of Good and Evil

Comparing the Two Solutions

A Call to the greater Cause

A Journey into the Future

Dreaming for an Hour

Contemplating a Vision

From the Negative to the Positive

On the Latest Elections

The Independents

A President for All Seasons

The Birth of a New World

Egypt’s Battle

A Day Unlike Others

The Intellectuals

Late-Night Confessions

Interests and Ideals

Know Thyself

The Hero of the Stalls

The Gate of Hope

The Wailing Wall of the Arabs

The Tragedy, Real and Imagined

The Tragedy

The Battle for Peace

Returning Home

Tomorrow Is a New Day

The Highest Aim

Pessimism and Optimism

Leadership Suicide

Examining Memories

The Bush Initiative

The Parties

Towards a New Vision

In Defence of Liberty and Dignity

A Picture of the Arabs

The Reality and the Dream

Coming of Age

The Late Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahab

Changing Positions

Excitement and Worth

Reading for All


Egypt the Safeguarded

‘When One Is Tested…’

The July Revolution and 1991

An End to the Nightmare

Towards a Modern Education

Farewell Yusuf Idris

Between Love and Hate

23 August 219 Gorbachev

A Return to Cultural Invasion

The Sacred Trust of Democracy

The Model of the Age

The Russian People

Progress, Power, and Liberty

In Search of Lost Time

Honouring Those Worthy of Being Honoured

A Period of Transition

The Greater Nation

The Inescapable Battle

What the Years Promise Us

Life without Duress

The Guide in the Darkness

The Other Side of the Picture

The Devotees of Zionism

The Right Way of Life


Algeria’s Experience

The Importance of Peace

The Lifeboat

The Right and the Left

The Road of Justice

How to Preserve Our Identity

Thieves and Thieves

Talking about Disasters

A Sacred Struggle

Smog in the Cultural Air

Religious and Secular Debates

Towards a Better System


We Share Your Sorrows

Western Civilisation

The Arab Road


Playing with Fire

A New Birth in the Embrace of Democracy

The Hoped-for Change

A Valuable Youth Experiment

The Coming Citizen

Economic Reform

To the Scholars

A Difficult Birth

a Dream

Below the Poverty Line

A Salute to Those Who bring happiness

On the Freedom of Thought

Tomorrow is another Day

The Dream Needs Work

The July Revolution and the Golden Age

Survival or Extinction?

Opening the Blocked Road

A Just Freedom

The Wafd School

Days of Steadfast National Unity

The National University

Sporting Success: The Reality and the Dream

The Past and the Present in a Changing World

Cultural Concerns


Mood and Violence

a blessed Movement

Cultural independence

Between War and Civilisation

The Struggle

The Whole Story

The Other Side of the Coin

A Threat Response Centre

Tourism, Religion and Politics

Yahya Hakki

How are We to Confront Terrorism?

The Path of Life

A New Year

War and International Legitimacy

Egypt and Sudan

Strength in the Service of Principles

We Want a Pure awakening

The arabs in the World of Tomorrow

A Return to the New World

The Role of the intellectuals

Suggesting a New Loyalty

A Thorough Review

A New Vision

The Price of Peace

A Certificate of Good Behaviour

The audience and the Play

Role Models

Crime in the Age of innocence

Let us Make the New World

When Will We Truly End Terrorism?

What is Proper and What is Not

When We Resolve to Build the Future

The Map of Those Who Strive

Kindly Requested

Towards a New Life

The Universality of Arabic Literature

The Sun Will Rise Tomorrow

The New Reality

Freedom and Justice


The Principal Enemy


The Flood Once More

From Self-Sacrifice to Reason

On Culture

Catastrophes on the Scales

A Hymn to the New Year

The Letters and the Ministers

Sorrow and Anger

Thought, Creativity and Freedom

The World at Your Fingertips


Comprehensive Peace

The Required Mission

A Dialogue with Violence

A Dialogue with Corruption

The Voice of Progress

Do Not Lose Hope

The Chart of Culture

The Reader and the Writer

A Conspiracy Against Islam

In the Press

A Difficult Birth!


Essential Qualities

The Near future

Secrets of Life

Love of the Homeland

The Noble Thief

The future of the Nation

An old Comic Song

Terrorism and its Kin

The Demands of the Young Generation

The Work Ethic

The Message and the Preachers

The Working Spirit

Fear of Freedom

Between Freedom of Thought and Freedom of Expression

Tomorrow is another Day 428 The Sovereignty of the Law

The People’s Dream

The Patriotic Value

universal Defence

Good Morning to the World

From Enlightenment to Comprehensive Reform

Pathological Tensions



The preservation of identity springs from a love of self, of country, of history and of memories of life and generations. There is nothing wrong with an attachment to identity, but it is not right that such attachment should extend to turning it into something sacred. There may be nothing – with the exception of religion – that is sacred about identity, for it is altogether composed of elements that can be developed, changed or renewed, even deleted or added, as may be required by advancement or progress along humanity’s long road towards the consummate life.

The defence of identity for no more reason than that it is our identity is invalid, just as the denial of identity for no more reason than being dazzled by the identity of another civilisation is also invalid. both positions are unreasonable and inauthentic and will lead to nothing but disorder and error, which means only clinging to what brings harm and no benefit, or to what is more harmful than beneficial.

This conclusion is confirmed by a presentation of the elements of which identity is composed, that is: customs, traditions, ideas and tastes. The assessment of these elements – whether as they stand or in comparison with their counterparts in other cultures – must be built on what they comprise of good or bad, or what they bring of benefit or harm, or what supports them of sincerity or beauty. based on this continuing debate, we will end up either maintaining our identity and rejecting everything that is foreign, or being influenced by others – and there is no harm in this case in favouring entire elements over those we already have. The important thing is that we act with independence of thought and freedom of choice. interaction will reveal a new identity that will not take long to become a legacy, and the identity of fathers and forefathers.

We must face the age of the great global village with courage and self-confidence.



‘an important achievement.’

–Asharq Alawsat by Prof. Maher Shafiq Farid. 

Full review here.