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Naguib Mahfouz’s daughter donates his library to Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The daughter of the late writer Naguib Mahfouz, Umm Kulthum Mahfouz, has donated his library to Bibliotheca Alexandrina in order to make it readily available to the visitors, researchers, and scholars.

Naguib Mahfouz’s library includes approximately 1,500 books, ranging from his novels to other books, dictionaries and encyclopedias acquired by the Nobel Prize laureate, or given to him as a gift.

His daughter said that this step comes within out of her desire that Mahfouz’s legacy remains available to readers of all ages.

Umm Kulthum received the Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Ahmed Zayed, who headed a delegation of library experts led by the Head of the Cultural Outreach Sector, Mohamed Soliman, to carry out the necessary procedures.

Zayed thanked Umm Kulthum and said that Mahfouz’s personal library will undoubtedly be a valuable addition to the visitors of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, as it will allow them to approach the rich literary world of this internationally distinguished author.

The library’s holdings gain their true importance from being Naguib Mahfouz’s private library, he said, as some books bear his own signature, or the signatures of those who gifted him their work – including major writers and thinkers in Egypt and internationally – in addition to certificates, documents, and personal photos.

Soliman highlighted the significance of this day, as Mahfouz’s library will now join the list of the special book collections dedicated to the most prominent Egyptian thinkers and intellectuals.

He also noted that this is the 57th donation to be added to the BA Special Collections Library.


A pioneer of Arab literature

Mahfouz, who died in 2006 at the age of 94, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1988.

The Nobel academy noted in its citation for the prize that Mahfouz, “through works rich in nuance—now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous—has formed an Arabic narrative art that applies to all mankind.”

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