Gamal el-Ghitani

Gamal el-Ghitani, (Arabic: جمال الغيطانى) (born May 9, 1945) is an Egyptian author of historical novels and cultural and political commentaries and is the current editor-in-chief of the literary periodical Akhbar Al-Adab ("Cultural News").

Biography

el-Ghitani was born to a poor family in the town of Guhayna, Sohag Governorate in Upper Egypt and moved with his family to Cairo as a child. He began writing at a young age and had his first short story published when he was only 14. He was originally trained to be a carpet designer and received his diploma in 1962. He continued to write on the side and was imprisoned from October 1966 through March 1967 for his critical commentary on the regime of Gamal Abd el-Nasser. In 1969 he switched careers and became a journalist for the Egyptian newspaper Akhbar El Yom ("The Day's News").

Work

Since becoming a journalist, el-Ghitani has continued to write historical fiction, and many of his stories are set in Cairo. He has also maintained an active pen about many cultural and political topics, notably the level of censorship in modern-day Egypt. In an effort to help promote the Arab literary culture, he helped found the literary magazine "Gallery 68".

In 1980, he was awarded with the Egyptian National Prize for Literature, and in 1987, the French Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 1985, he became editor-in-chief at al-Akhbar ("The News") and continued to be a contributing editor to Akhbar al-Yom's literary section. Since 1993, he has been the editor-in-chief of Akhbar Al-Adab, one of Egypt's primary literary magazines. In 2005, he won a French Award for translated literature "Laure Bataillon", one of the highest French awards to be bestowed upon non-French writers. He was entitled for this award due to his giant work "Kitâb al-Tagalliyyât" or "Book of Illuminations".

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