Readers will soon be able to read revised editions of Naguib Mahfouz’s novels “without alterations,” Ahmed Al-Qarmalawi, director of the publishing department of Diwan Bookstore, recently announced. This statement raised controversy about whether there were alterations in previous editions of the celebrated Egyptian writer’s works.
Diwan, a Cairo bookstore chain that both sells and publishes books, recently obtained the rights to publish the works of Mahfouz, the only Arab novelist to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. (This year’s laureate, the Tanzanian-born writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, is of Arab origin but writes in English. See a related article, “Abdulrazak Gurnah: ‘Arab’ Nobel Laureate Is Little Known to Arabs”.)
Al-Qarmalawi, who is also a novelist, said Diwan has the exclusive rights to publish the complete works of Mahfouz for 15 years as of next May, when the contract the late novelist signed with Dar El Shorouk 20 years ago expires.
In December, a few days before the 110th anniversary of Mahfouz’s birth, Diwan signed a contract with the writer’s surviving daughter, Umm Kulthoum Mahfouz, to obtain the exclusive rights to publish his novels, in paper and audio. It also obtained non-exclusive rights, along with the Hindawi Publishing House, to publish his works as e-books.