25 May 2024 07:37 AM

Gamal el-Ghitani

Monday، 20 July 2009 - 12:00 AM

The prominent novelist Gamal el-Ghitani has won the Grand French Award for translated literature "Lora Betlouine", which is the highest French award to be bestowed upon non-French writers. He is entitled for this award due to his literal work "al-Tagalyat illuminations" published by "Editions du Seil" as "Livre des Illuminations", which was launched at the Institute du Mond Arabe in Paris, February last 2005 in 900 pages.

The award is equally shared between both the writer and the translator. The award bears the name of a French translator and a specialist in the art of the Argentinean writer "Jarge Barjis "1899-1986".

About El Ghitani, he was born in May 1945 in Sohag, Upper Egypt. He is the current chief-editor of Akhbar El Adab weekly newspaper, and author of some of the greatest novels published nowadays.

Gamal El Ghitani can be considered as a self-made man, who started reading and writing at an early age. He wrote his first short story in 1959 with the titled "Nehait El Sakeer The end of the Drunk", which was published in 1963 in Aladeeb Lebanese magazine in the same month in which he wrote a study on the book "The Soul Story" by Leon Adel.

Al-Ghitani wrote his first short story when he was fourteen years old, and made his real start as a writer of short stories and novels in the 1960s. His journalistic and literary texts have appeared in Egyptian and Lebanese newspapers since 1963. In 1966/67 he was held in a prison camp for six months due to his critical position towards President Nasser. He subsequently found work as a clerk at the Artists’ Trade Union at the Khan al-Khalili bazaar in Cairo. Later, he turned to journalism in Dar Akhbar al-Yom and he is currently chief-editor of the weekly Literature News magazine.

Al-Ghitani lectured at numerous universities world-wide, and participated in many international conferences. In 2004, he was the guest of honor at the International Frankfurt Book Fair. He speaks Arabic and English, and lives in Cairo.

He was one of the founders of "Gallery 68", the literary magazine which soon became the mouthpiece of the writers of his generation.

His work is a search for man’s place in the universe and in the dimension of time. His fascination with Medieval Arabic writings, especially the work of Ibn Iyas, the Egyptian historian, was reflected in his great historical novel Zayni Barakat.

Zayni Barakat (Penguin, 1988) is a post-modern historical novel of the first order. Like the Gulf writer Abdul-Rahman Munif’s Cities of Salt trilogy, al-Ghitani is a fly in the Arab nationalist ointment. Such literary output is firm evidence that the Arab world does contain the seeds for its own renaissance.

It is the first time for an Arab writer to achieve this senior award, which was delivered to al-Ghitani in a big celebration, in which Pierre Le Ginyo, member of the French Academy, announced the victory of Al-Tagalyat in a unanimous vote with no rival in the final qualifications, for it has multi-standard and dimensions.

A selection of his works
Some of his short stories collections:

*Awraq Shab ‘Asha mundhu Alf ‘Am
Cairo dar el-Tali’a 1969
Jerusalem Dar Salah el-Din 1975
Bierut dar el-Muassira 1980
Cairo G.E.B.O 1991

*Ard .. Ard
Cairo G.E.B.O 1972 and 1991
Bierut dar el-Muassira 1980

*Al-Hisar min Thalath Jihat
Damascus Itihad el-Kuttab el-‘Arab 1975
Bierut dar el-Muassira 1980
Cairo G.E.B.O 1991

*Hikayat el-Gharib
Cairo Dar Mijallat el-Itha’a wal Telvision (Radio& TV Union) 1976, 1980

*Dhikr ma Jara
Cairo Madbuli 1978
Beirut: Dar al-Masira, 1980
Cairo: G.E. B. 0, 1991

*Ithaf aI-Zaman bi-Hikayat Jalbi al-Sultan
Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-’Arabi, 1985

*Thimar al Waqt 1990

*Min Daftar al-’Ishq wal-Ghurba
Cairo: G.E. B. 0., 1993. Series: Mukhtarat Fusul,

*Naftha Masdur
Kuwait: Dar Su’ad al-Sabah, 1993

*Shatf al-Nar
aI-ilay’at al-’Amma li-Qusur al-Thaqafa, 1996

Short Story Selections:
*Muntasaf Layl al-Ghurba
Cairo: G.E. B. 0, 1984. Series: Mukhtarat Fusul

*Ahrash al-Madina
Cairo: Mu’ assassat Akhbar al-Yawm, 1985

Baghdad: Wizarat al-I’lam, 1975
Bierut dar el-Muassira 1980
Cairo: Maktabat Madbuli, 1987

*Al- Zayni Barakat
Wizarat al-Thaqafa wal Irshad al-Qawmi, 1974
Cairo: Madbuli 1975
Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-’Arabi, 1985
Dar al-Shuruq, 1989
Tunis: Dar al-Junub, 1991
Baghdad: Dar al-Shu’un al-Thaqifiyya, 1991

*Shath al-Madina
Cairo: Dar al-Hilal , 1990. Series: Riwayat al-Hilal
Cairo: Dar alShuruq 1991

*Waqi’i’ Harat al-Za’farani
Cairo: Dar al-Thaqafat al-Jadida, 1976
Madbuli 1986 and 1991
Baghdad: Dar al-Shu’un al-Thaqifiyya 1987

Cairo: G.E. B. 0, 1977
Bierut dar el-Muassira 1980
Cairo G.E.B.O 1991

*Khitat al-Ghitani
Bierut dar el-Muassira 1980
Cairo G.E.B.O 1991

*Risala min al-Sababa wal Wajd
(Cairo: Dar al-Hilal , 1988 Maduli , 1990

*Risilat al-Basi’ir fi al-Masi’ir
Cairo: Dir al-Hilal, 1989 Cairo: Madbuli, 1991

*Ha-tif al-Maghib
Cairo: Dir al-Hilal 1992.

*Mutun al-Ahram
Cairo: Dar Sharqiyyat, 1994

Other Literary Writings

*Kitab al-Tajaliyyat 3 Volumes
Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1983-6
vol1: Beirut: Dar al-Wihdat al-’Arabiyya
3 Vols. together: Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq, 1990

*Asfar al-Asfar
Kuwait: Dar Su’ ad al-Sabah, 1992. Series: Rahlat

*Asfar al-Mushtaq
Kuwait: Dar Su’ ad al-Sabah, 1992

In Translation:
Zayni Barakat (London: Viking, 1988) Translated by Faruq ’Abd al-Wahab. This novel has also been translated into 10 languages and was the first Arabic novel to be published by Penguin Books.

Waqi’i’ Harat al-Za ’farani has also been translated into English (Cairo: G.E. B. 0) and German.

Risilat al-Basi’ir fi al-Masa’ir has been translated into French as Epitre des Destinees (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1993) Translated by Edwige Lambert.

Several of his short stories have been translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Hebrew.

His short story Tanin (originally in al-Ithaa wal television, 1970) was included in Egyptian Tales and Short Stories of the 1970s and 1980s, edited by W. M. Hutchins (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1987).

His complete works up to 1980 were published in Beirut by Dar el-Masira. His collected works were published in Cairo in 6 volumes by the G.E.B.O, 1990-6.

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