FIFTH SESSION 1996-1997
Stories Novels & Drama

Painting by : Gamal Kotb – Egypt

  • Born in Juhayna village, Sohag Governorate – Egypt in 1945.
  • Grew up in Al Gamaliyya district in Old Cairo. He was born to a humble family. His father was a worker in the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • He received his primary education at Abdul Rahman Katkhada Primary School and Al Gamaliyya Primary and Middle School.
  • In 1952, he joined the Artisan School of Arts and Crafts, where he studied oriental carpet design and graduated in 1962.
  • Worked as a carpet designer for the General Egyptian Foundation for Cooperative Production from 1963 to 1965 and later as a supervisor at carpet factories in Minya Governorate until1966.
  • Arrested in 1966 among other writers of the 1960s for political reasons.
  • Was Secretary for the Egyptian Cooperative Society for Khan Al Khalili Artisans and Artists from 1967 to February 1969.
  • Started his work for Akhbar Al Youm publishing house in 1969
  • Was war correspondent from 1969 to 1974.
  • Worked as a journalist before being appointed as Head of the Literary Section and columnist in 1985. From 1987 to 1990 he worked as a Cultural Consultant for Akhbar Al Youm publishing house and also supervised the Kitab Al Youm book series.
  • Editor-in-Chief of Akhbar Al Adab from 1992 until his departure.
  • Many of his works were translated into various languages, including French, Swedish, English, Dutch, German and Italian.
  • Numerous dissertations and theses were written about his works in Arab and European universities.
  • Participated in numerous international symposiums and conferences in the Arab world, Europe and Latin America.

Decision of the General Secretariat : 

The novels and short stories of Jamal Al Ghitani are characterized by their adaptation of traditional Arabic narrative forms. The author succeeds in developing a distinct writing and linguistic style that draws upon such a versatile adaptation. As a result, his narratives are both authentic and rich with a critical sense that adds a unique dimension to his literary experience in terms of form and substance.

Awards : 

  • Egyptian State Prize for the Novel
  • The French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
  • Arab-French Friendship Award for his novel Risalat Al Basa’er Fi Al Masa’er.
  • On November 19, 2005, he won the prestigious French award “Prix Laure Bataillon” for translated literature for his novel Al Tajalliyat (Illuminations). The prize was awarded to him and to translator Khaled Osman.
  • State Merit Award (2007)

Famous Works : 

  • Awraq Shab Aasha Munthu Alf Aam “Memoirs of a Youngman Who Lived a Thousand Years Ago”
  • Al Zewail
  • Hurras Al Bawaba Al Sharqiyya (Guardians of the Eastern Gate)
  • Mutoon Al Ahram   (Pyramid Texts)
  • Shath Al Madina (City Roaming)
  • Muntaha Al Talab Ila Turath Al Arab (Seeking the. Ultimate in Approaching the Arabic Tradition)
  • Sifr Al Bunyan
  • Hikayat Al Mu’asasa   (Tales of the Foundation)
  • Al Tajalliyat (Illuminations- 3 volumes)
  • Dana Fa Tadalla
  • Nithar Al Mahw
  • Khalasat Al Kara
  • Al Zeini Barakat
  • Rashahat Al Hamraa’
  • Nawafith Al Nawafith (Windows of Windows)
  • Mutribat Al Ghuroob  (Sunset Songstress)
  • Waqi’i’ Harat al-Za’farani (Incidents in Zaafarani Alley)
  • Al Rifa’ii
  • Risala Fil Sababa Wal Wajd  (A Treatise on Longing and Passion)
  • Rasa’el Al Basa’er wal Masa’er (The Epistle of Insights and Destinies)
  • Al Khutoot Al Fasila: Yawmiyyat Al Qalb Al Maftouh  (The Dividing Line: Memoirs of the Open Heart)
  • Asfar Al Mushtaq (Journeys of the Yearner)
  • Safar Al Asfar (Journey of Journeys)
  • Naguib Mahfouz Yatathakkar (Naguib Mahfouz Remembers)
  • Moustafa Amin Yatathakar (Moustafa Amin Remembers)
  • Al Majalis Al Mahfouziyya (The Mahfouzian Councils)
  • Ayyam Al Hasr (Days of Confinement)
  • Muqarabat Al Abad ( The Forever Approach)
  • Khitat Al Ghitani (Al Ghitani’s Plans)
  • Waqa’e Harat Al Tablawi (Incidents of Al Tablawi Alley)
  • Hatif Al Magheeb (The Call of Sunset)
  • Tawfik Al Hakim Yatathakkar (Tawifik Al Hakim Remembers)
  • Al Mahsool (The Harvest)

Translated Works

Many of his works have been translated into various languages, including:

  • German: Zayni Barakat (1988), Incidents in Zaafarani Alley (1991), Riwayat Risalat al Basa’er wal Masa’er (2001).
  • French: Zayni Barakat (1985), Rasa’el Al Basa’er wal Masa’er (The Epistle of Insights and Destinies, 1989), Incidents in Zaafarani Alley (1996), Shath Al Madina ( City Roaming, 1999), Mutoon Al Ahram (Pyramid Texts, 2000), Hikayat Al Mu’asasa (Tales of the Foundation, 2002), Al Tajalliyat (Illuminations- 3 volumes in 1, 2005)

He passed away on October 18, 2015.

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