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. Rashed El-Enany is Professor Emeritus of Modern Arabic Literature at the University of Exeter.