Hamdi Sayyid El-Sakkout was born in Gharbiyya Governorate in Egypt in 1930 and received a bachelor’s degree in Arabic Language and Literature from Cairo University, a Diploma of Education from Ain Shams University and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in the U.K. He is a distinguished scholar and former Professor of Modern Arabic Literature and Director of Research and Arabic Studies Centers at the American University in Cairo (AUC).
Professor Al-Sakkout’s publications cover a wide range of literary issues, including editions and translations of Arabic documents of the Ottoman period, studies of the Egyptian novel and short story, and current trends in literary criticism. He is credited for his detailed bibliographic study of the life and works of Abbas Mahmud Al-Aqqad, one of the most celebrated modern Arab writers. The book is part of a series of exhaustive bibliographic studies entitled Leaders of Contemporary Arab Literature in Egypt. Five other volumes, comprising bibliographies of Taha Hussayn, Ibrahim Abd al-Gadir al-Mazini, Abd al-Rahman Shukri, Muhammad Hussayn Haikal and Tawfiq al-Hakim, were co-authored with the late Professor Marsden Jones. In 2001, Al-Sakkout added a volume on Salah Abd al-Sabur to the series. He also edited The Modern Arabic Novel: Bibliography and Critical Introduction, an immense 6-volume text covering more than 4,600 individual novels written in Arabic from 1865 to 1995.
Professor Al-Sakkout is a member of leading cultural organizations in Egypt, a life member of Claire Hall at Cambridge University, a former Visiting Professor to the Universities of California in Berkley and Washington in Seattle and organizer of the AUC Arabic Cultural Program. In addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Arabic Literature, he received Toma Prize for African Writers, Modern Languages Foundation Prize (USA) and Al-Ahram Club Prize.
Professor El-Sakkout (Egypt) has been awarded the prize for his comprehensive 2- volume book, Abbas Mahrnoud Al-Akkad, an objective and systematic study of one of the most distinguished contemporary Arab writers.