Sawiris Cultural Award

Believing in the power of art and culture in positively contributing to society, the Sawiris Cultural Awards Competition was established in 2005 to recognize excellence in the literary works of Egyptian emerging and established writers in the fields of novels and short stories. Over the past 13 years, the competition has grown to include more genres such as screenplays to support the development and growth of the Egyptian film industry, and playwriting to help playwrights get their work into the theatre world. This is in addition to the best literature critique work; which was added recently in 2013.

Since its initiation, the award contributed significantly to the enrichment of cultural life in Egypt, and has occupied a prominent position among Arab and local awards.  The number of applicants for the Sawiris Cultural Awards has increased from 267 in 2005 to 608 applicants as of 2017.

The foundation presents awards of cash and recognition plaques to winners in the categories of novels, collections of short stories, screenplays, playwriting, and literature critique. The competition goes through a lengthy process that starts in mid June and ends in January. The winning submissions are selected by an independent judging committee consisting of well-known writers and literary experts. The winners are announced in a big ceremony held at the Cairo Opera House in January of each year. You can follow us on facebook:

Award Board of Trustees

In alphabetical order

Dr. Gaber Asfour

Former Culture Minister

Dr. Gaber Asfour is a Professor at a number of Arab, European and American universities. He was the Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Culture. Currently at the head of the National Translation Foundation in Cairo, he plays a major role in the dissemination of Arab culture worldwide.  His highly original literary criticism has garnered international recognition. Dr Gaber Asfour won the UNESCO prize for Arab culture in 2008.

Dr. Hoda Elsadda

Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cairo University; and President of the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS)

Dr. Hoda Elsadda is Co-founder and current Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Women and Memory Forum. Until 2011, she held a Chair in the Contemporary Arab World and was Co-Director of the Centre of the Advanced Study of the Arab World at the University of Manchester in the UK.  Dr. Elsadda was a member of the editorial Board of the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (IJMES) from 2005-2009. She co-founded and co-edited Hagar, an interdisciplinary journal in women's studies published in Arabic (1992-1998).

Dr. Ismail Serageldin

Director, Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Dr. Ismail Serageldin is Professor of a groundbreaking International Chair in Knowledge against Poverty at the College de France in Paris. He was Vice-President of the World Bank in the 1990s. He has received 30 Honorary Doctorate Degrees, as well as France’s Legion d’honneur and Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun.

Dr. Mohammad Aboulghar

Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University; Clinical Director of the Egyptian IVF-ET Center

As a doctor, Dr Mohammad Aboulghar acquired prominence as a pioneer of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). He was awarded the Egyptian National Award for Excellency in Medical Sciences in 2000.  Aside from his outstanding scientific activities, Dr. Aboulghar has a wide range of political, social and cultural interests and  has written hundreds of articles in the Egyptian press. After the 2011 Egyptian revolution, Dr. Aboulghar, together with a number of Egyptian political activists, founded the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.

Mrs. Mona Zulficar

Senior Partner and Chair of the Executive Committee, Zulficar & Partners Law Firm, and Head of the Banking and Capital Markets Group within the Firm

Mrs. Mona Zulficar is a member of the Egyptian Bar Association, the International Bar Association, the Egyptian Society for Economics, Statistics, and Legislation, the National Council for Human Rights, and the Egyptian Society for International Law. She chairs the Women’s Health Improvement Association. She served on the Board of the Central Bank of Egypt.

Dr. Zahi Hawass

Former Minister of State for Antiquities

As an archaeologist and Egyptologist, Dr. Zaki Hawass has received many awards in recognition for his major discoveries and restoration projects. He has also been awarded a number of honorary doctorate degrees from several prestigious universities.

Late Mr. Essam El-Maghraby

Film Director, Producer & Screenwriter

Mr. Essam El-Maghraby was a member of Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD), a French Society representing authors and their works in the performing arts and audiovisual sector. He wrote and produced the first European TV serial science fiction “Temps X” in 1980. Mr. Maghraby was a member of eQuinoxe Paris and honorary member of  L'Association Construction la Grande Pyramide (ACGP).He was also the founder of the United Studios International, a film production and distribution company in Paris. He was a consultant for Studio Masr and a media advisor in a number of Arab countries.  Mr. Maghraby has won several international awards for best direction and screenplay. He died in the year 2014.

Late Mohamed El-Sayed Saeed

Deputy Director of Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies

The late Mohamed El-Sayed Saeed was one of the founders of the Sawiris Cultural Award. He graduated in 1973 from the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University. The prolific thinker wrote 22 political books and numerous articles and founded El-Badeel newspaper. He also participated in founding the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights and the protest movement, Kifaya. He died at October in the year 2009.

Late Mr. Salama Ahmed Salama

Chief of Editorial Board, Al-Shorouk newspaper

Mr. Salama Ahmed Salama was the editor-in-chief of the political magazine “Weghat Nazar” (Points of View), and was previously the Managing editor and columnist in Al-Ahram newspaper. He was a member of The Arab Thought Forum, The High Press Council; and The High Cultural Council. Mr. Salama was one of the most respected political writers in the Arab world. He died at July in the year 2012.

Late Mrs. Shams El-Itribi

Founder of Eddukkan enterprise

Since nearly twenty years, Mrs. Shams El-Itribi had been organizing a monthly cultural saloon, a forum for dialogue among egyptian innovators, thinkers and writers. The idea of Sawiris Literary Award was born in this salon, which was the inspiration for Eng. Samih Sawiris to add Sawiris Cultural Award to the Foundation’s portfolio. In addition to her cultural and literary interests, Mrs. El-Itribi was a pioneer in the field of developing and modernizing traditional costumes of Egyptian women. Her art and creativity reached out to global forums such as the Louvre Museum in Paris, which hosted an exhibition of her fashion designs in 2001. Mrs. El-Itribi founded “Eddukkan” enterprise, a well-regarded chain of top-of-the-line ethnic Egyptian women’s garments. She died at November in the year 2017.