Ahmed Awny is a fiction writer born in Cairo in 1988. His writing explores social movements, subcultures, and hegemonic masculinities.
His debut novel Some Achieve Greatness (2019) won the Sawiris Cultural Award for best novel by an emerging writer, and was selected as one of Al Jazeera’s top ten books of 2019, earning praise for its satirical yet sensitive portrayal of one young man’s experience of the Egyptian revolution. In the words of one critic, the novel “picks over old wounds cleverly and earnestly.” Some Achieve Greatness is currently being translated into English by award-winning translator Adam Talib (with rights available from RAYA), and is forthcoming in Spanish from Textofilia (Mexico).
Awny studied creative writing at the American University in Cairo and screenwriting at the Meditalents lab in Morocco. His first publication was a collection of short stories entitled Chronic Anxiety (2010). In 2022, he participated in the Austrian-led International Literature Dialogue initiative, and the resulting piece of writing—about AI and literature—is forthcoming. In 2023 he was an Institut français resident at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.
Reflecting his increasing preoccupation with hegemonic masculinity in Egyptian society, Awny is currently at work on a novel about brother-sister relationships. Shadi, a young man reared on a diet of machismo, is under pressure from friends who are eager to learn how he reacted to the revelation of his sister’s affair with a colleague. To placate them, Shadi pretends that he beat her up, but as he becomes entangled in lies, he is forced to acknowledge just how fragile his—and their—masculinity is. Awny was awarded a prestigious work-in-progress grant from Culture Resource (Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy) for his work on the novel.