Monday, April 19, 2010

The literary contests in Egypt

Unfortunately, the most of literary contests in Egypt, especially novel contests, don't enjoy the impartiality or credibility or fairness.

For example, the annual prize of story club… it's supposed to be the most famous & important literary contest in Egypt, however:

  1. The contest of 2008 is announced in 2009 & the contest of 2009 is announced in 2010 & so on!!! Moreover, the contest of the current year is announced in middle of the next year, not even in beginning of the next year!!!

  2. The winners are often old people & published authors or writers known by the arbitration committee. The young people, new talents & unknown unpublished writers rarely take their chance in this award!!!

  3. The time of submitting the participating works is very short (often less than one month only), and also the time of announcing the results is very short (through few months). So, undoubtedly, the results are known beforehand.

  4. The advertisement of contest is published annually in very small space in the newspapers & it's not published in the first page or a marked place. And therefore, it's invisible to a lot of people. There's no fixed date for publishing this AD, every year it is published on a different day from a different month.

  5. The conditions of contest are very floating. The story club doesn’t unite the specifications of manuscript novels. The professional contests stipulate one paper size (A4 for example), four equal page margins, one font type & style, one font size, one line spacing. While, the four useless conditions of this contest every year are: (1) the novel must not be less than 50 pages foolscap & three copies are submitted, (2) the novel must not be introduced to another contest currently or in the past, (3) the contestant must not be a member in the club, (4) the contestant must not be a winner in the last two years.

  6. The financial awards of this contest are very little. The first winner takes 2000 Egyptian pounds only, the second takes 1500 EP & the third takes 1000 EP!!! Beside, there are taxes about 12 % even on the prizes in Egypt!!! The three winners take also appreciation certificates, but the first winner only can take the membership of club & his/her novel is published in the silver book series of the story club.

  7. The club is open three days only in the week & for six hours only (7 pm to 9 pm on Saturday, Monday & Wednesday). The headquarters & only branch is in the capital (Cairo). The inhabitants of Cairo, Alexandria, the Delta & Lower North Egypt can arrive to the club & submit their works before the deadline, but The inhabitants of far places (such as Upper South Egypt, Sinai & the Oases) are forced to send their works in a package by express mail & it's very expensive, instead of traveling for hundreds of kilometers.

  8. The club has no an independent place. It's an apartment in very old big building. You will pass across a lot of corridors to arrive to it. The staff is very old people, the boss of club, the members, the secretary & the office boy. If you rang the door bell or called by telephone, you must wait for long minutes until somebody answers you. A lot of people think that there's no body there & they lose the connection with the club.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sham el-Nessim Day

Literally, it means Smelling the Breeze (Zephyr). In general, it's Spring Day in Egypt & an official vacation in the whole country.

Every year, the oriental church defines it on any Monday since the beginning of April till the beginning of May according to the Coptic calendar. However, Muslim Egyptians celebrate it like Christians exactly, because it's also an ancient Egyptian feast since the days of pharaohs.

The breakfast is colored boiled eggs and the lunch is smoked or salted fish or sardine & green onion. As Christians don't eat fish during their Lent (55 days) & finish their great fasting on the day before that day or Easter.