Even in his early writings, which were mainly poems, Issam Mahfouz used to “create a sublime and penetrating theater of dialogue,” says Lebanese poet Shawqi abi-Shaqra about his friend. It is a disservice to Mahfouz to sum up his contributions in generalities. This creative artist made his unique and visionary contributions in different fields: first, in modern poetry; then in theater, where his basic and most notable contributions lie, as well as in literary studies, criticism, and research.
The immediate reaction to awarding Naguib Mahfouz the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988 was mixed among some Arab intellectuals. Some attribute this to the tarnished image of the Nobel Committee, which earlier awarded the Peace Price to the Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin and to the Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat for their role in concluding the first peace treaty between the Jewish state and an Arab country. Neither winner enjoyed much sympathy among Arab intellectuals.
Egypt’s cultural circles have recently celebrated one of the most important writers in the Arab world, Edwar al-Kharrat, who turned 70 earlier this year. This celebration coincided with the publication of al-Kharrat’s latest book, entitled “Muhajamat al-Mustaheel” (Attacking the Impossible), and with his winning the prize of Sultan Al-Oweiss.
With this double issue (nos. 50/51) Al Jadid magazine enters its 11th year. During the past decade, we have rarely talked about ourselves, our pleasures or pains, neither self-congratulatory nor inviting pity. This has included not talking about our financial difficulties as well as the acclaim Al Jadid has received, including letters of support, articles and reviews written about Al Jadid in national and international magazines and newspapers, as well as professional, academic and mainstream books from major publishers.
Assia Djebar has broken new ground as she is the first Muslim North African woman to become an "immortal" or life-long member of the prestigious French Academy, founded in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu during the reign of King Louis XIII "to protect and monitor the French Language."
Can one understand the experience of being a prisoner without ever being in a prison cell? This question might seem strange at first, but those who have met and talked with the family members of political prisoners in Syria will definitely know the answer. In a recent article, my friend and colleague, Yassin al-Hajj Salih (in An Anahar Literary Supplement, June 27, 2004 ), accurately describes life inside prison, calling for bringing the prison experience into the light, in all its different aspects, until nothing remains unknown or overburdened with suppressed memory.
This story was written in the 1930s and was made possible by the courtesy of Anthony Saidy - The Editors
A new issue of Al Jadid is out (Vol. 10, no. 48). As usual it covers a wide range of topics and subjects in the field of Arab and Mideast culture, arts, and literature. Topics covered in this issue include the civil liberties of Arab-Americans, the Palestine-Israel conflict, Arab media, Jewish-Arab relations, critical intellectual discourse, and much more.
A year ago, the famous Egyptian actress Amina Rizk died at the age of 93 after a rich artistic life. Born in 1910, Rizk started her career at an early age when she moved to Cairo from Tanta with her mother, grandmother, and aunt after the death of her father. Her aunt, Amina Mohamed, was an actress with the Ramsis Theater, which had been established by the late Youssef Wehbi. Because of her aunt's example, young Amina entered the magical world of acting.