Gamal el-Ghitani



Gamal al-Ghitani, novelist, short story writer and journalist, was born in Sohag, upper Egypt, in 1945. He wrote his first story in 1959 at the age of 14. Born into a poor family, Ghitani was apprenticed as a child with a carpet maker, and later worked in one of the Khan el-Khalili factories. In 1969 he moved to the news desk of Akhbar el-Yawm, a leading Egyptian daily. Today, he is editor of the influential literary weekly Akhbar el-Adab.

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 diffuse and historical, as opposed to Mahfouz's linearity and social realism. His work is a search for man's place in the universe and in the continuum of time. His fascination with Medieval Arabic writing, 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 which doubles as an allegory of Nasser's police state. Like the Gulf writer Abdelrahman 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.

   A selection of his  works are : 

Literary work

Short Story 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 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 Cairo: 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 Damascus: 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

al-Rifai 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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