In line with its strategy to promote Arab literature, culture, and heritage and to mark the birthday of the globally renowned Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library (MBRL) hosted the Naguib Mahfouz Days cultural event, highlighting his literature, criticism, and immortal and realistic novels that distinguished him from all the other geniuses of his time. The event also featured a musical performance along with screenings for some of Mahfouz’s televised novels.
“Organising the Naguib Mahfouz Days event reflects Mohammed Bin Rashid Library’s vision and firm belief in the importance of preserving Arab cultural and literary heritage. We aim to introduce renowned Arab novelists and writers and their creative works to all our audience and younger generations. Mahfouz’s realistic novels gave us a deeper glimpse into Egyptian society. They boast enchanting vocabulary entwined around a timeless and universal philosophical and realistic vision.” said Dr. Mohammed Salem Al Mazrouei, Board Member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library Foundation.
In collaboration with several book clubs, the Naguib Mahfouz Days event featured a panel session on Mahfouz’s novel “Afrah al-Qubba”, which was structured to tell the same story in four contrasting chapters that reflect the psychological aspects of each main character, producing a hyper-realistic reflection of the Egyptian society.
A screening of the “Between Heaven and Earth” movie, written by Naguib Mahfouz and directed by Salah Abu Seif, also enriched the event. The film revolves around a group of miserable strangers stuck in a lift. With the strenuous attempts to save their lives, hope begins to dwindle, and events intertwine making each of them feel the positive side of their life, and their personalities change forever once they are rescued.
The event also saw a panel discussion, moderated by author Fathia Al-Nimr, featuring Dr. Jamal Muqabla and writer Nasser Iraq, who presented a contemporary answer to the question “Why do we go back to reading Naguib Mahfouz?”, whose writings vary between realism, philosophy, and short compositions.
“I urge everyone nowadays to listen to the great storyteller Naguib Mahfouz narrating his stories. This has become easy with the various applications available between our hands today, particularly Iqraaly, Storytel, and other audiobook platforms. Allusive novels are considered the best option, especially since listening to them is most convenient. Finalised with over 500 dreams, Mahfouz first wrote his collection ‘The Dreams’ in the 1980s with only 17 dreams. They help summarise entire novels easily as well as analyse some of his characters. Reaching the end of his life, he had to rewrite his work in an allusive manner, thus came dreams that combine fantasy and reality, mixing between the mystical and existential aspects rooted in Mahfouz’s personality. In fact, he first specialised in philosophy, which enabled him to philosophically portray his characters across realistic and linguistic levels. Between implicitly referring to Plato and directly highlighting his concepts, Mahfouz was neither stylistically realistic nor abstract or symbolic in an ambiguous manner. He simply created unique literary works that are moderate in their language and philosophy,” said Dr. Muqabla.
“Naguib Mahfouz was a pioneer in the art of screenwriting. He wrote his first screenplay in 1947 for the movie al-Muntaqim (The Avenger) in collaboration with Salah Abu Seif, starring Nour Al-Huda and Ahmed Salem Mahmoud Al-Melegy. The film enjoyed a strong and well-drafted screenplay, compared to other works produced by the Egyptian film industry at the time,” commented Nasser Iraq.
In addition, MBRL collaborated with Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre and Dar El-Shorouk – Egypt to host an exhibition of a number of Mahfouz’s books and publications, along with several pictures of their covers, such as Awlad Haretna (Children of Gebelawi), Zuqaq al-Midaq (Midaq Alley), The Harafish, and Qasr El Shouq (Palace of Desire), among others.
In line with its vision to promote communication and ignite the society’s passion for knowledge, MBRL introduces a rich year-round programme of cultural and entertaining initiatives and events that cater to the knowledge tastes of all society members.
Source: Mohammed bin Rashid Library