Gamal El-Ghitani, Egyptian author, Died at 70

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Gamal el-Ghitani, born on May 9, 1945, and passed away October 18, 2015.

Gamal was an Egyptian author of historical and political novels and cultural and political commentaries and was the editor-in-chief of the literary periodical Akhbar Al-Adab (“Cultural News”) till 2011.

Gamal 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.

Gamal 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 Gamal switched careers and became a journalist for the Egyptian newspaper Akhbar El Yom (“The Day’s News”).

Since becoming a journalist, Gamal 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, Gamal helped found the literary magazine “Gallery 68”.

In 1980, Gamal 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 of Al Akhbar (“The News”) and continued to be a contributing editor to Akhbar El-Yom’s literary section.

From 1993 to 2011, Gamal was 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”.

In 2009, Gamal was awarded the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for Ren, the award is worth about $200,000 and is one of the world’s richest literary awards.

Gamal El-Ghitani is married to the Egyptian journalist Magda El-Guindy, editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram’s children’s magazine “Alaaeddin”.

He has a son, Mohammad, and a daughter, Magda.

Gamal died on October 18, 2015 at the El Galaa Hospital For Armed Forces Officers Families in Cairo.

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