Ahmed Awny

Ahmed Awny


أحمد عوني

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.

© Raya agency
Date of birth : 1988
Country of birth: Egypt
Country of residence: Germany
Publisher(s): Al Mahrousa & Dar Sharqiyat
Contact: Raya Agency

Selected bibliography

  • جوائز للأبطال, Some Achieve Greatness*, Al Mahrousa, 2019. English translation: excerpt available on Raya agency website, trans. by Adam Talib
  • “What Are You Doing in Berlin?” short story, The Markaz Review, September 2022, trans. by Rana Asfour
  • [قلق مزمن] Chronic Anxiety*, Dar Sharqiyat, 2010

*Working title


Ahmed Awny, writer in residence at the Cité internationale des Arts by Cité internationale des arts website, April 2023

Entretien – Parole à Ahmed Awny (video in Arabic, subtitled in French), Littérature Live Festival, Villa Gillet, Lyon, 2021

Top 10 Books of 2019 from the Arab World, by Al Jazeera, 2019

Literature meets AI, and Austrian-Egyptian Dialogue (video in English, minute 31:05), by Austrian cultural Forum, 2022




Prizes and awards

Book(s) featured on this site

Reviewed by Katharine Halls