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Born in the Gamaliyya district of Cairo in 1911, Naguib Mahfouz began writing when he was seventeen. A student of philosophy, Mahfouz graduated in 1934 from Cairo University, and has been influenced by many Western writers, including Balzac, Zola, Camus, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and especially Proust. He has written nearly forty novels as well as some 14 volumes of short stories, many of which have been translated and published in English. Amongst other activities, under his guidance, his novel al-Qahira al-jadida was eventually transformed into a film entitled Cairo 1930. In 1988, Mahfouz, "who, through works rich in nuance - now clearsightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous - has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind," was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.