“One day after I accepted their offer, I received a list of 90 names of young writers who were candidates for the competition. I later learned that those names had been chosen by the literary magazine Banipal, which issued its own selection."This narrowed the original criteria of the competition, which had declared it was open to all writers under 40 of Arabic origin. al-Aswany also felt the award had been compromised by a lack of awareness in the Arab world:
“In Egypt no one was aware of the mere existence of this literary contest, except people with good connections in the cultural field and a bunch of journalists".The deadline for candidacies has been extended to August 24th and the nominations page remains open to all.