Gamal al-Ghitani

Gamal al-Ghitani, is the founding editor of the weekly newspaper Akhbar Al-Adab - for many, the Arab world’s most active literary-cultural resource. He began his career as a war reporter and a left-wing activist, before embarking on a career in cultural journalism. Born in Juhaina, Sohag, Al-Ghitani grew up in Cairo, and became one of the founders of the literary magazine Gallery 68, as well as a central figure in the city’s café culture, and for many years the friend and confidante of the late Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz. His writing works to reconnect the stylistics of the Arab literary cannon with the grassroots vernacular of urban discourse. His best known novel in English is Zaini Barakat (Penguin) which mimics the cadences and rhythms of canonical Arabic to retell the story of the Ottoman takeover of Egypt. He received the Lora Betlouine Award for translated literature, the highest French award to be bestowed upon non-French writers, for his book Al-Tagalyat Illuminations (2205). In 2007 he was awarded Egypt’s State Merit Award.

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