Naguib Mahfouz was an Egyptian writer and novelist who was well-known and thought of as one of the first modern writers of Arabic Literature. In 1988, Naguib Mahfouz was the first writer from an Arab country to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. He started writing when he was 18 years old and kept doing it until the day he died. Naguib Mahfouz started out as a writer by writing short stories and journals. Later, he started writing novels, which made him famous around the world. His works were first written in Arabic, but they have since been translated into English, French, and German. Most of Naguib Mahfouz’s works showed how he felt about Egypt’s monarchy system in the past, colonialism, and modern-day Egypt. It mostly dealt with social issues like women and political prisoners. His direct way of telling stories made religious groups very angry, and as a result, some of his works were banned. He wrote more than 350 short stories, 34 novels, 5 plays, and a few scripts during his life.
Early years and childhood
Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo on December 11, 1911, to a family from the middle class. His father was a government worker named Abdel-Aziz Ibrahim, and his mother was called Fatimah. He was the youngest of his six brothers and sisters. He had four brothers and two sisters.
He was taught at a school for the Koran that was also called “Kuttab.” He finished elementary and secondary school, and this is where his interest in Arabic literature began to grow. At the time, the writer Hafiz Najib had the most impact on him.
Naguib Mahfouz saw the Egyptian Revolution of 1919 when he was only seven years old. It is said to have had a big impact on him because it gave him his first taste of nationalist feeling and had a big impact on his writing in the future.
In 1930, Naguib Mahfouz went to Egyptian University to continue his education. He had already finished school at the Kuttab. In 1934, he earned a degree in Philosophy. He then went on to get an M.A. in Philosophy, but he stopped after a year because he wanted to become a professional writer.
Naguib Mahfouz’s Career
After Naguib Mahfouz graduated from college in 1934, he went to work for the Egyptian government. Here, he kept working in different departments until 1971, when he finally retired. His first job was as a clerk at the University of Cairo.
In 1936, he started working as a journalist for the newspaper Al-Risala. He also wrote short stories for the newspapers Al- Ahram, and El-Hilal at this time.
In 1938, he was put in charge of the Ministry of Islamic Endowments as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Islamic Endowments (Awqaf). The next year, Naguib Mahfouz’s first book, “Khufu’s Wisdom,” came out.
Novels like “Abath Al Aqdar,” which came out in 1939, “Radobis,” which came out in 1943, and “Khan al-Khalili” are also well-known works by him (published in 1945). His writing style wasn’t very polished, and he often wrote about things like socialism, God, homosexuality, and philosophical and psychological problems.
In 1945, he asked to be moved to the al-Ghuri Mausoleum library in Cairo. Here, he ran the “Good Loan Project,” which gave loans to poor people with no interest.
He also had the chance to see the area and how people lived there. During this time, he also read western literature. He read books by Conrad, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Proust, Stendhal, and many other authors.
During the 1950s, he worked as the Director of Censorship for the Bureau of Arts and as the Director of the Foundation for the Support of Cinema. He worked as a consultant for the Ministry of Culture as his last job in the Civil Service.
He wrote “The Cairo Trilogy,” which is a set of three books about the lives of three generations of people in the city of Cairo between World War I and the military coup in 1952. The novels are titled ‘Bayn al Qasrayn’ (1956), ‘Qasr al Shawq (1957), and Sukkariya’ (1957) (Between-the-Palaces, Palace of Longing, Sugarhouse).
His book “Awld ratin” (Children of the Alley), which came out in 1959, was banned in Egypt because it had some controversial ideas in it. Some people were angry that he used the names of religious prophets and talked about religion in the book. He even got death threats.
Between 1940 and 1980, about twenty-five of his books were turned into screenplays. But he didn’t want to see his own books turned into movies or TV shows, so he didn’t take part in these projects directly.
In 1971, a newspaper called al-Ahram offered him a job, and he kept writing a column every week. He kept writing for the paper right up until a short time before he died.
Works of note
Most of Naguib Mahfouz’s works are about the people and lives of Egypt. The Cairo Trilogy, a set of three novels that came out between 1956 and 1957 and made him famous around the world, is his most famous work.
Awards & Achievements
He got two awards from the Egyptian government for his writing.
The Nobel Prize for Literature was given to Naguib Mahfouz in the year 1988.
In 1989, he was given the Presidential Medal by the American University at Cairo. In 1995, the University also gave him an honorary Ph.D.
In 1992, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters made him an honorary member.
He was chosen to join the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002.
Personal History and Legacies
Naguib Mahfouz married Atiyyatallah Ibrahim in 1954. They had two daughters. Their names were Fatima and Umm Kalthum.
He had said that he didn’t get married until he was 43 because he thought it would limit his writing career.
In 1994, a religious fanatic tried to kill him by stabbing him in the neck. He got better, but the nerves in his right upper limb were badly damaged. This made it so he could only write for a few minutes a day, which hurt his work.
Naguib Mahfouz died in Cairo on August 30, 2006. He died when he was 94 years old.
Estimated Net worth
Naguib is one of the wealthiest authors and is on the list of the most popular authors. Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider all say that Naguib Mahfouz has a net worth of about $1.5 million.