Society & Culture

Writer Ziada First Sudanese to Win Najeeb Mahfouz Literature Medal


Sudan Events

Sudanese writer Hammour Ziada has received the 2014 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature for his novel Shawq al-darwish (The Longing of the Dervish). Ziada is the first Sudanese to win the award.

“Because what the novel Shawq al-darwish attempted to present is part of the stories of the country of the men with burnt faces. Stories of their sufferings, dreams, ambitions, defeats, history and legends. … Shawq al-darwish attempts to break the borders of loneliness.

To present some companionship to its reader. To bring together our Sudanese sentiments colored with legends with the sentiments of the human community.”

Set in 19-century Sudan, The Longing of the Dervish is a love story of a Sudanese slave at the time of the Mahdist uprising.

“Shawq al-darwish is characterized by an epic richness that courses through the narrative,” stated the judges in their citation of the award, “not only on the level of the complexity of the character of the tragic hero, but also on the level of the multiplicity of the modes of discourse: marvelously and richly alternating between narrative, poetry, songs, folklore, historical documents, Sufi and church hymns, Quranic and Biblical verses, and even writing about writing.

In its illustration of the devastation caused by the Mahdi uprising, a fanatical, extremist.

It is a rich novel in terms of events, characters, and facts, written in elegant poetic language, and using advanced techniques.”

Many considered the novel a full-fledged Sudanese novel that deserves to compete with merit, without flattery or arrogance, for an advanced position in the process of the Arabic novel, and we can be proud of the name of a great novelist who is carving an advanced place for himself, and deservedly so.

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