Ghalya Saadawi
Fitzcarraldo Editions / Mahler & LeWitt Studios
Essay Prize


Ghalya Saadawi won the 2023 Fitzcarraldo Editions/Mahler & LeWitt Studios Essay Prize for her proposal Between October and November, a book on time and loss under an extended capitalist modernity, on what we keep and what is taken away. Written in daily entries and fragments, Saadawi’s book threads political family histories, life writing and cultural criticism, thinking through philosophies of history, cultural obsessions with past and foreclosed futures, revolutionary legacies, the contradiction of the destruction and persistence of certain historical forms.

Ghalya Saadawi teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London, and at the Dutch Art Institute. She is also affiliated with the Beirut Institute for Critical Analysis and Research. Her research interests broadly cross critical theory, aesthetics and politics, law and psychoanalysis, theories of witnessing, marxist critiques of human rights, and beyond. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications and monographs including PhiloSOPHIA, and the book collection, Between the Material and the Possible: Infrastructural Re-examination and Speculation in Art. She is developing a manuscript on the hypochondriac as a modern figure of critique, and a lexicon on the categories of political-economy as modalities of mind and relation. Between October and November is her first book.

The other shortlisted authors, chosen from 107 entries, are Luke Allan for There is another world, but it is this one, Toby Chai for Embryos Denied Mitosis, Pete Kowalczyk with Time is a Border, Matthew Porges for The Balkan Bridge by Matthew Porges, and Asa Serezin with The Divorce Plot.

The Fitzcarraldo Editions/Mahler & LeWitt Studios Essay Prize is an annual competition for unpublished writers. Initially made possible by an Arts Council Grant in 2015, the prize awards £3,000 to the best proposal for a book-length essay (minimum 25,000 words) by a writer resident in the UK & Ireland who has yet to secure a publishing deal. In addition to the £3,000 prize the winner will have the opportunity to spend up to two months in residency at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios in Spoleto, Italy, to work on their book. The book will then be published by Fitzcarraldo Editions.

The 2023 Fitzcarraldo Editions/Mahler & LeWitt Studios Essay Prize was judged by Joanna Biggs, Brian Dillon, Joanna Kavenna, Max Porter and Jacques Testard. The judges were looking for essays that explore and expand the possibilities of the essay form, with no restrictions on theme or subject matter. The prize aims to find the best emerging essay writers and to give them a chance to develop and showcase their talent. It also provides the winner with their first experience of publishing a book, from the planning, research and writing of it through to the editing, production and publicity stages.