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Naguib MAHFOUZ

Egyptian writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988, and was the first Arabic writer to be so honored. Man in the Arab world saw the prize somewhat ironic, not least because the work for which Mahfouz received the prize had been published at least three decades earlier. However,Mahfouz's books are still unavailable in many Middle Eastern countries on account of his support for President Sadat's Camp David peace treaty with Israel in 1978. Mahfouz have writtensome 40 novels and short story collections, 30 screenplays and many plays..

Naguib Mahfouz was born in Gamaliya, Cairo. The family lived in two popular districts of the town, al-Jamaliya and al-Abbasiya, which have provided the backdrop for most of his writings. His father was a civil servant, and Mahfouz eventually followed in his footsteps. In his childhood his mother often took him to museums and Egyptian history later became a major theme is many of his books. He graduated from the Cairo University in 1934. By 1936, having spent a year working on a M.A., he decided to become a professional writer. He worked as a journalist at Ar-Risala, and contributed to A-Hilal and Al-Ahram. Before turning to the novel, Mahfouz wrote articles and short stories. By 1939 he had already written three novels. In the same year he entered government bureaucracy, where he was employed for the next 35 years. From 1939 until 1954 he was a civil servant at Ministry of Islamic Affairs, and then worked as director of Foundation for Support of the Cinema for the State Cinema Organization. In 1969-71 he was a consultant for cinema affairs to the Ministry of Culture. ABATH AL-AQDAR (1939), RADUBIS (1943), and KIFAH TIBAH (1944) were historical novels, that were conceived as a part of a larger unfilled project of 30 novels meant to cover the whole history of Egypt. However, following the third novel, Mahfouz shifted his interest to the present. Mahfouz's major work in the 1950s was The Cairo Trilogy, which the author completed before the July Revolution. The trilogy is set in the parts of Cairo where Mahfouz grew up. The novels were titled with the street names Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, and Sugar Street. Mahfouz depicts the life of three generations in Cairo from WW I to the 1950s, when King Farouk I was overthrown. Without turning the individual characters into representatives of the different historical currents, Mahfouz lets history flow from the richness of characters and from their psychological, intellectual and social dimensions. The trilogy and its mode connects Mahfouz with the line of such authors as Balzac, Dickens, Tolstoy, and Galsworthy. The Children of Gebelawi (1959), which was serialized in the magazine Al-Ahram, portrayed average Egyptians living the lives of Cain and Abel, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed. The work was banned throughout the Arab world, except in Lebanon. Mahfouz developed further the theme of the book, that humanity in it greed for material gain is moving further away from God, in the 1960s in his existentialist novels. In The Thief and the Dogs (1961) he depicted the fate a Marxist thief who ultimately is murdered in a cemetery. Mahfouz left his post as the Director of Censorship and was appointed Director of the Foundation for the Support of the Cinema. In 1969 he became a consultant to the Ministry of Culture, retiring in 1972. He has been a board member of Dar al Ma'aref publishing house. In the 1960s and 1970s Mahfouz started to construct his novels more freely and use interior monologue. In Miramar (1967) he used a form of multiple first-person narration in which four narrators tell the story. Manfouz became more interested in destinies, ideas, and human types than meticulous details of the previous period. In Arabian Nights and Days (1981) and in The Journey of Ibn Fatouma (1983) he used traditional Arabic narratives as subtexts. Mahfouz has written some 40 novels and short story collections, screenplays and several stage plays. Mahfouz have combined intellectual and cultural influences from East and West - his own exposure to the literary of non-Arabic culture began in his youth with enthusiastic consumption of Western detective stories. Mahfouz's stories are almost always set in the heavily populated urban quarters of Cairo. His focus on 'the little man', who has to deal with the changing traditions, rebellion of younger generations and the temptations of Western values, has made him a spokesperson not only for Egypt but also for a number of non-Western cultures. But Mahfouz is not so interested in historical and realistic analysis as the philosophical and psychological impact of the change on ordinary people. Mahfouz's introspection has been valuable landmark in the 1990s for understanding the realities of Egypt in the age of transition. For further reading: The Changing Rhythm: A Study of Najib Mahfu's Novels by Sasson Somekh (1973); The Modern Egyptian Novel by Hilary Kilpatrick (1974); The Arabic Novel by Roger Allen (1982); Naguig Mahfouz, Nobel 1988: Egyptian Perspectives (1989) Nobel Laureates in Literature, ed. by Rado Pribic (1990); Naguib Mahfouz's Egypt by Hayim Gordon (1990); Critical Perspectives on Naguib Mahfouz, ed. by Trevor Le Gassick (1991) - NOTE: Fundamentalist Muslims have threatened Mahfouz because of his writings. Two Egyptians were sentenced to death in 1995 for attempting to kill the author. In his works Mahfouz has offered critical views of British colonialism and contemporary Egypt, social issues, and political prisoners. The major Egyptian influence on Mahfouz's thoughts of science and socialism in the 1930s was Salama Musa, the Fabian intellectual. Selected works:

  • ABATH AL-AGDAR, 1939 - MOCKERY OF THE FATES
  • RADUBIS, 1943
  • KIFAH TIBAH, 1944
  • KHAN AL-KHALILI, 1944
  • AL-QAHIRAH AL-JADIDAH, 1946 - NEW CAIRO
  • ZUQAQ AL-MIDAQQ, 1947 - MIDAQ ALLEY - Midaqq-kuja - film El Callej—n de los milagros / Midaq Alley, dir. by Jorge Fons and starring Ernesto G—mez Cruz, Salma Hayek, and Maria Rojo, was based on Mahfouz's novel but set in Mexico City.
  • IGNIS FATUUS, 1948
  • AL-SARAB, 1949
  • BIDAYAH WA-NIHAYAH, 1949 - THE BEGINNING
  • AND THE END
  • AL-THULATIYA, 1956-57 - THE CAIRO TRILOGY;
  • BAYN AL-QUASRAYN (1956) - Palace Walk - QUAST
  • AL-SHAWQ (1957) - Palace of Desire -
  • AL-SUKKARIYAH (1957) - Sugar Street - suom.
  • Palatsikatu, Intohimon palatsi, Sokerikuja
  • CHILDREN OF GEBELAWI, 1959
  • AL-LISS WA-AL-KILAB, 1961 - THE THIEF AND THE DOGS
  • AL-SUMMAN WA-AL-KHARIF, 1962 - AUTUMN QUAIL
  • AL-TARIQ, 1964 - THE SEARCH
  • AL-SHAHHADH, 1965 - THE BEGGAR
  • THARTHARAH FAWQ AL NIL, 1966 - ADRIFT ON THE NILE
  • AWLAD HARITNA, 1967 - CHILDREN OF GEBELAWI / CHILDREN OF THE ALLEY
  • MIRAMAR, 1967 - transl.
  • AL MARAYA, 1971 - MIRRORS
  • AL-HUBB TAHT AL MATAR, 1973
  • AL-KARNAK, 1974 - THREE CONTEMPORARY
  • EGYPTIAN NOVELS
  • QUAB AL-LAYL, 1975
  • HADRAT AL-MUHTARAM, 1975 - RESPECTED SIR
  • MALHAMAT AL-HARAFISH, 1977 - THE HARAFISH
  • ARS AL-HUBB, 1980
  • AFRAH AL-QUBBAH, 1981 - WEDDING SONG
  • LAYALI ALF LAYLAH, 1981 - ARABIAN NIGHTS AND DAYS
  • AL-BAQI MIN AL-ZAMAN SA'AH, 1982
  • RIHLAT IBN FATTUMAH, 1983 - THE JOURNEY OF IBN FATOUMA
  • AL-A'ISH FI AL-HAQIQAH, 1985
  • YAWM MAQTAL AL ZA'IM, 1985 - THE DAY LEADER WAS KILLED
  • HADITH AL-SABAH WA-AL-MASA, 1987
  • THARTHARAH ALA AL-BAHR, 1993

  • Jamal MAHJOUB

    Jamal Mahjoub was born in London of an English mother and Sudanese father.

    In the Hour of Signs

    This latest novel by Mahjoub is built around the battle of Omdurman and those who were involved in it, mainly the British and the Arabs. Mahjoub brings the period of the Sudan Wars to life with perception, honesty, and integrity.

    This is a story of men: some wise, but for the most part mad or misguided; small men with a large sense of their own importance. Mahjoub writes with an immense, poetic intensity, bringing these characters vividly to life from the cook Mahdi, to an Arabian prostitute, to the gentle Hawi, whose powerful message combines with the judgment and blindness of the other characters to bind the story together in a satisfying if profoundly disturbing way.

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    Wings of Dust

    "An interesting point of view and a smart, observant voice. . ."

    --Kirkus Reviews

    This narrative story is told by Sharif Turab, a middle-aged man living in exile in France from an unnamed North East African country, a member of the first generation after African independence to go to the continent as ambassadors and ministers, an opening of the gates toward contact with the ideas and lifestyles of Europe. In limbo, as a wave toward returning to Islamic tradition instills suspicion toward this individualism, Turab tries to make some sense of his life as everything that he believes in begins to crumble. Wings of Dust is a distinctive mixture of intensity and anarchic movement, humorous and moving.

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    Navigation of a Rainmaker

    This first novel follows the journey of a young man from a mixed family who travels from Britain to the Sudan to claim his heritage from his father. As famine inexorably moves into the western part of the country, Tanner finds himself the embodiment of the same malaise gripping Africa.

    A modern novel about modern Africa.

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    Edited by Adewale MAJA-PEARCE

    The Heinemann Book of African Poetry in English

    This anthology presents the best of African poetry written in English over the past thirty years.

    Contents:

    Dennis Brutus (South Africa) 8 poems. Majorie Oludhe Macgoye (Kenya) 5 poems. Christopher Okigbo (Nigeria) 5 poems. J. P. Clark Bekederemo (Nigeria) 7 poems. Syl Cheney-Coker (Sierra Leone) 3 poems. Arthur Nortje (South Africa) 8 poems. Steve Chimombo (Malawi) 6 poems. Jack Mapanje (Malawi) 9 poems. Kojo Laing (Ghana) 10 poems. Niyi Osundare (Nigeria) 9 poems. Lupenga Mphande (Malawi) 2 poems. Tanure Ojaide (Nigeria) 4 poems. Musaemura Zimunya (Zimbabwe) 2 poems. Frank Chipasula (Malawi) 12 poems. Molara Ogundipe-Leslie (Nigeria) 2 poems. Odia Ofeimun (Nigeria) 8 poems. Catherine Obianuju Acholonu (Nigeria) 2 poems. Chenjerai Hove (Zimbabwe) 7 poems. Gabriel Gbadamosi (Ireland/Nigeria) 3 poems. Biographical Notes. Recommended Anthologies.

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    Mahmood MAMDANI

    When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda

    "When we captured Kigali, we thought we would face criminals in the state; instead, we faced a criminal population." So a political commissar in the Rwanda Patriotic Front reflected after the 1994 massacre of as many as one million Tutsis in Rwanda. Underlying his statement is the realization that, though ordered by a minority of state functionaries, the slaughter was performed by hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens, including even judges, human rights activists, and doctors, nurses, priests, friends, and spouses of the victims. Indeed, it is its very popularity that makes the Rwandan genocide so unthinkable. This book makes it thinkable. Rejecting easy explanations of the genocide as a mysterious evil force that was bizarrely unleashed, one of Africa's best-known intellectuals situates the tragedy in its proper context. He coaxes to the surface the historical, geographical, and no political forces that made it possible for so many Hutu to turn so brutally on their neighbors. He finds answers in the nature of political identities generated during colonialism, in the failures of the nationalist revolution to transcend these identities, and in regional demographic and political currents that reach well beyond Rwanda. In so doing, Mahmood Mamdani usefully broadens understandings of citizenship and political identity in postcolonial Africa. There have been few attempts to explain the Rwandan horror, and none has succeeded so well as this one. Mamdani's analysis provides a solid foundation for future studies of the massacre. Even more important, his answers point a way out of crisis: a direction for reforming political identity in central Africa and preventing future tragedies. Mahmood Mamdani is Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (Princeton), which won the Herskovitz prize of the African Studies Association. Among his other books are The Myth of Population Control, From Citizen to Refugee, and Politics and Class Formation in Uganda. He is currently President of the Dakar-based Council for Development of Social Research in Africa (CODESRIA).

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    Nelson MANDELA

    No Easy Walk to Freedom

    The tenth anniversary of this South African leader's imprisonment on Robben Island fell in 1973. This also marked the first appearance of this collection of speeches and writings in the African Writers Series¬.

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    Jack MAPANJE

    Formerly Head of the English Department, University of Malawi, Jack Mapanje was brutally arrested and imprisoned without trial for four years. Following his release in 1991, he moved to Britain with his wife and family. He has recently been appointed Northern Arts Writer-in-Residence and now spends much of his time visiting prisons and lecturing on his experiences in Malawi.

    The Chattering Wagtails of Mikuyu Prison

    "Don't read this because Mapanje was detained, another human rights victim. Read it because he made poetry out of the experience--sardonic, inventive, lyrical testimonies to a generous and enduring spirit."

    --Poetry Review

    Dedicated to "the black and white writers and human rights sages throughout the world who prayed and fought for my freedom," this new volume of poetry damns the Malawian regime that incarcerated Mapanje. The collection reveals Mapanje's initial reaction to the banning of his last volume in Malawi and his subsequent imprisonment in Mikuyu Prison, and includes poems written since his release and exile from his native land.

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    Of Chameleons and Gods

    Over recent years several poets from Malawi have increasingly demanded attention with their quiet, well-made verse. Jack Mapanje's verse has made a particular mark.

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    Rene MARAN

    Batouala

    Translated by Barbara Beck and Alexandre Mboukou

    "You smell the smells of the village, you eat its food, you see the white man as the black man sees him, and after you have lived in the village you die there. That is all there is to the story, but when you have read it, you have seen Batouala, and that means that it is a great novel.''

    -- Ernest Hemingway

    "French African prose can be given a beginning with the publication in 1921 of the novel Batouala...its sensitive portrayal of African life with its evocation of the natural environment, could not but make a profound impression upon its African readers and offered a vivid example of what an African novel in French could be.''

    -- Abiola Irele


    Dambudzo MARECHERA

    The House of Hunger

    Joint winner of The Guardian Fiction Prize 1979

    Startling stories of distinction by a remarkable writer who has vividly evoked the township squalor of growing up in the "house of hunger"

    -- settler-exploited Rhodesia.

    "Violence strikes in Marechera's pages like lightning ... charging the language with a force that lays bare old roots of human experience."

    -- The Guardian

    "Marechera has in him the stuff and substance that go to make a great writer."

    -- Doris Lessing

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    Black Sunlight

    "Marechera uses a pattern of violent and pornographic images to create an extended metaphor on living in pre-independence Zimbabwe."

    -- Library Journal

    House of Hunger not only won The Guardian fiction prize but stunned the imagination of readers with its view of the slums of colonial Salisbury. Black Sunlight gives a similar cockroach-eye view of London.

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    Ali A. MAZRUI

    The Trial of Christopher Okigbo

    A novel of ideas. The famous Nigerian poet is tried in "After-Africa" for putting his Ibo tribe before his poetry and for dying for Biafra.

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    Tom MBOYA

    The Challenge of Nationhood

    This collection of Mboya's speeches includes an important introduction which he wrote shortly before he was assassinated.

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    Thomas MOFOLO

    Chaka

    Translated by Daniel P. Kunene

    Thomas Mofolo's classic novel of the Zulu hero Chaka is already known through Dutton's somewhat quaint translation. Dan Kunene, a skillful writer, has used his academic and native knowledge of Sesotho to reveal the historic achievement of this writer from Lesotho.

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    John MUNONYE

    Obi

    This domestic novel set in Eastern Nigeria twenty or thirty years ago tells of the return of a young couple from the city to their village.

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    Meja MWANGI

    Meja Mwangi is an established Kenyan author. He has published eight novels and numerous plays and children's stories.

    Striving for the Wind

    "...an instructive exploration of the true nature of the human condition in rural Kenya and a fascinating appreciation of the foibles and vibrancy of the human soul... Mwangi weaves a thread of humor through a fabric of tears..."

    -- The Weekly Review

    Set in Kenya, this novel is a hilarious, yet subtly disturbing, portrayal of post-colonial decadence. Newly wealthy black landowner, Baba Pesa, constantly boasts he is "the Father of Money." He is brutish and ruthless. He clashes with his family, friends and neighbors as he craves financial dominance in the region.

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    Going Down River Road

    Ben, cashiered as a lieutenant in the army, now works as a building laborer in Nairobi. He survives attacks on his life only to find his girlfriend gone. This picture of squalor and hopelessness has been compared to Gorky's Russia.

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