Born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1911, Naguib Mahfouz began writing when he was 17. His first novel was published in 1939 and 10 more were written before the Egyptian Revolution of July 1952, when he stopped writing for several years. The appearance of the Cairo Triology, (Palace Walk (1956), Palace of Desire (1957), and Sugar Street (1957)) made him famous throughout the Arab world as a depictor of traditional urban life. Some of his other works include Adrift on the Nile (1966), Arabian Nights and Days (1981) and The Dreams (2003).
Until 1972, Mahfouz was employed as a civil servant, first in the Ministry of Mortmain Endowments, then as Director of Censorship in the Bureau of Art, as Director of the Foundation for the Support of the Cinema, and, finally, as consultant on Cultural Affairs to the Ministry of Culture. He is the author of no fewer than thirty novels, more than a hundred short stories, and more than two hundred articles. Half of his novels have been made into films which have circulated throughout the Arabic-speaking world. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1988 and was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize in 2005.
Naguib Mahfouz died in 2006.