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Naguib Mahfouz. Image from Flickr.

Previously unseen short stories by the late Egyptian Nobel Prize laureate Naguib Mahfouz will be published on 11 December, his 107th birthday, according to Al Ahram and Egyptian Streets. The book will be released by publishers Dar al Saqi in Arabic, to be followed by an English translation by longtime Mahfouz collaborator Roger Allen.

In the book will also be “manuscripts demonstrating Mahfouz’s editing process, which reveal how his handwriting was affected by the knife attack that occurred after they were written and before they were published.”

The stories were discovered by culture journalist Mohamed Shoair while researching his own book on the controversy around Mahfouz’s novel Children of Gebelawy (1959), in “a file of 50 short stories written by Mahfouz that were entitled ‘for publishing 1994.'” While most of the stories had appeared in Al Ahram magazine Nisfeldunia before the failed assassination attempt of Mahfouz in 1994, “Shoair found that 18 of these short stories were never published.”

Born in 1911, Mahfouz’s 70-year career included 34 novels and over 350 short stories. He is best known for his Cairo TrilogyPalace Walk (1956), Palace of Desire (1957), and Sugar Street (1957). In 1988, he became the second African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, after Wole Soyinka two years earlier, and is so far the only Arab to have done so. He died on 30 August 2006, aged 95.

There is no date yet for the publication of the English translation, nor has there been an announcement of its title.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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