In a special event filled with warmth and recognition, the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation honored writer and translator Kamel Youssef Hussein on the occasion of his return to his homeland, Egypt, after 40 years of serving culture in the UAE. The event, which took place on Sunday, November 22, 2021, was attended by a wide audience of culture enthusiasts and included a seminar that was moderated by poet and journalist Hussein Darwish, who described veteran writer and translator Kamel Youssef Hussein as being one of the most prominent Arab translators who have enriched the Arab library with more than 100 books, including translations, publications or references.
Speaking at the event, Kamel Youssef talked about his career in the field of translation, which began in the mid-1970s and continues until this very day. He explained that he has a deep-rooted relationship with translation that dates back to the first article he translated and continues until his last book. He has contributed more than 100 books to the Arab library, including books he authored as well as those he translated or revised, making him a walking encyclopedia. He is credited with introducing great authors from the East and the West to Arab readers, especially those who had never been translated into Arabic.
Kamel Youssef’s translations cover a wide array of genres, such as philosophy, thought and literature. His translations from Japanese literature especially stand out, as he is credited with introducing leading Japanese author Yukio Mishima to Arab readers, along with other prominent authors such as Paul Auster, Toni Morrison and Elias Canetti. Moreover, Youssef introduced the concept of “Dirty Realism” by American author Richard Ford in his novel Wildlife, along with many other literary and philosophical concepts that have all become part of his cultural, intellectual and enlightening contributions.
The seminar was enriched by the questions and testimonials of the audience, which included Youssef’s coworkers Nader Makansy, Ibrahim Al Kamali, Saeed Ibrahim, Fathiya Al Nimr and Emad Khalaf among others. Kamel Youssef also answered many questions about the art, mechanism and method of translation.
At the end of the seminar, Members of the Board of Trustees of Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation, Dr. Mohammed Abdullah Al Mutawa and Nasser Hussein Al Abboudi presented a commemorative shield to Kamel Youssef and thanked him on behalf of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees for his great contributions to Arab culture.
Kamel Youssef also signed copies of his books at the event, a meaningful gesture that added a magnificent sparkle to the tribute event. These translated books have been offered by Al Owais Cultural Foundation to culture enthusiasts free of charge. Novelist Fathiya Al Nimr also signed copies of her new novels for the audience. The event concluded with a group photo comprising Kamel Youssef and the audience.
About Kamel Youssef Hussein
- Holds a BA of Political Science, Faculty of Economics and Political Science- Cairo University (1971) and an MA of Political Science from the same Faculty (1979).
- Author, translator and reviewer of over 80 books including:
The Sea of Fertility, a tetralogy by Yukio Mishima
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Sheikibo
Alienation by Richard Schacht
Death and Western Thought by Jack Choron
- Member of Sharjah Arab Creativity Award (2006)
- Member of Jury Committee of Sheikh Zayed Book Award (Translation Category), 2007.
- Member of the Editorial Board of “Shu’un Adabiya” magazine, published by Emirates Writers Union.
- Winner of Al Owais Creativity Award (2016)
- Coach of Translation Workshops at Dubai International Writing Program.