Gamal al-Ghitani Wins Zayed Book Award in Literature

Gamal al-Ghitani won the Zayed Book Award for Literature recently. I don’t know how important the award is (are any awards important?) but there is a nice list of his works. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know what the Arabic names are, not that I can speak Arabic, but it makes it a little easier to compare different lists of his books. It also makes it easier for to figure out which books of his I have read. I only see three listed that I have read:  Zayni Barakat; Pyramid texts; Naguib Mahfooz Remembers. I have also read the collection of stories A Distress Call and the novel Incidents in Zanfrani Alley, or as it is known in German, Der safranische Fluch oder Wie Impotenz die Welt verbessert, which, if you can believe Google, means Saffron curse or how the world improves impotence, certainly a more fun sounding title and one that gives you a better sense of the book. As far as I know there is also one story in the collection Sardines and Oranges and one in the Columbia Modern Arabic Fiction, both of which I’ll be reading this year. A Distress Call and Incidents in Zanfrani Alley are almost impossible to find. I’ve never found them on the Internet. Fortunately, there is a large university near by if I were to want to read them again.

For someone who is one has been called one of the great Arabic fiction writers, it is too bad more isn’t translated. But then again since so little is translated it is a wonder this many of his works have been translated. I have posted a review of  Naguib Mahfooz Remembers (published as The Mahfouz Dialogs).


  • Chronicles of a Young Man Who Lived a Thousand Years Ago
  • Al Zayni Barakat
  • Pyramid texts
  • Siege from Three Directions
  • Stranger’s Tales
  • Book of Revelations (3 vols.)
  • Midnight of Exile
  • Jungles of the Town


  • Watchmen of Eastern Gate
  • Naguib Mahfooz Remembers
  • Mustafa Ameen Remembers
  • Views of Cairo a Thousand Years Ago
  • Endowments in Cairo
  • Pigeon Fever