10 Modern Arab Writers Who Should Make Arabs Proud
By: Diana Adjadj/Arab America Contributing Writer
Taking care of your heritage means that you need to nurture it. As much as the younger generations mostly want to fit in, our culture is what makes us who we are and we should be proud of it. Considering the Western influence which has taken its toll on many cultures, our heritage is somewhat starting to be in the shadow. One of the aspects of our culture that should never be neglected is our language.
Writers want to get recognition on a global level so they opt for writing in English, but what about Arabic? Can you get recognized and valued if you write in Arabic? Of course, you can! The Arab World is a vibrant region with many writers who are shaping the young generations through their admiration-worthy writing.
The following successful Arab writers will convince you that writing in Arabic matters.
1. Ahmed Saadawi
Saadawi is more than a writer. He is also a poet, screenwriter, and documentary filmmaker. This Iraqi writer is proving that you can express your talent in many ways.
He has a poetry volume named “Anniversary of Bad Songs” (2000). In addition, he published three amazing novels: “The Beautiful Country”, “Indeed He Dreams or Plays or Dies”, and “Frankenstein in Baghdad.”
In 2014, “Frankenstein in Baghdad” won the famous International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF).
2. Joumana Haddad
This writer has been listed as one of the world’s 100 most powerful Arab women for four years in a row by Arabian Business Magazine.
Joumana Haddad is an author, journalist, a women’s rights activist, and a role model for many young women.
Also, Haddad is the founder of Jasad, a quarterly Arabic-language magazine, know that Haddad is the founder.
In addition, in 2018, Haddad launched a new TV show on Alhurra that deals with topics related to free expression and critical thinking.
3. Youssef Ziedan
His novel “Azazel” is a best-seller and a winner of IPAF which he received in 2009. He is the proud author of the opus of more than 50 books.
Moreover, he is the director of the Manuscript Centre and Museum affiliated to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
4. Ahmed Khaled Tawfik
Tawfik attracted the attention of many as the first modern Arab writer of the horror and science fiction genre. He was also the first Arab writer who dared to experiment with the medical thriller genre.
This prominent Egyptian writer reached the peak of his success with his novel “Utopia.” Besides being highly successful, the novel was also critically praised.
“Ahmed Khaled Tawfik is one of my greatest inspirations,” says Saud Adnan, a writer at Studicus. “He thought that taking risks is an essential part of this job. Thanks to him, I always aspire to step outside the boundaries and explore my limits when it comes to writing.”
5. Shukri Mabkhout
The Tunisian writer has also influenced Arab people through his works as an academic and critic.
Mabkhout is a Professor at the University of Tunis. Before that, he successfully worked as a Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of La Manouba; preceding that, he was the president of Manouba University.
He sits on the board of many literary journals and is an author of several publications of literary criticism. His novel “The Italian” won IPAF in 2015.
6. Nawal El Saadawi
As a woman writer, Nawal proved that women can be just as good and influential as men. Her feminist nonfiction has attracted the attention of many.
Iraqi novelist Ali Bader cited Nawal about shaping the attitude towards gender differences.
Even though she strictly writes in Arabic, her work has found the way towards a broader audience. She is the second-most-translated author from Arabic. Not to mention that Western feminist scholarships often cite her ideas and statements.
7. Rabee Jaber
In addition to being awriter, this Lebanese author, Rabee Jaber is also an editor. He works for Afaq, the cultural supplement of Al-Hayat newspaper where he proved himself as one of the best editors.
He is also the proud author of more than 15 novels.
“Master of Darkness” is one of his novels and it won the Critics’ Choice Prize. Another novel named “The Druze of Belgrade” won IPAF.
8. Ahmed Mourad
This famous Egyptian writer, Ahmed Mourad has written novels that were praised and loved by many. Mourad is the most successful modern Egyptian novelist.
He has four novels that brought him the fame and they are “Vertigo”, “The Blue Elephant”, “Diamond Dust,” and “1919.”
One of the novels (“The Blue Elephant”) was even brought to life through a movie. While another one (The Vertigo) was used for a TV series.
9. Dunya Mikhail
Dunya Mikhail is a writer and a poet but she has also worked as a translator and journalist for the Baghdad Observer.
She won the Arab American Book Award with her work, “The Diary of a Wave Outside.”
Her book “The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq” attracted much attention as well as controversy since it deals with a very sensitive but important issue. This book is part biography, part poetry, and part memoir.
Those who want to know more about it can hear it being discussed in the 8th episode of the Bulaq podcast.
10. Saud Alsanousi
Saud Alsanousi won many prizes with his work, which only supported the quality of his writing.
It all started with his debut album “The Prisoner of Mirrors” which brought this Kuwaiti writer the fourth Leila Othman Prize.
“The Bonsai and the Old Ma” is his short story and also the winner of a competition organized by Al-Arabi magazine and BBC Arabic.
Moreover, his novel “The Bamboo Stalk” won the IPAF.
Some Final Thoughts
These writers have shown us that writing in Arabic is important for preserving our culture. Their work has touched the hearts of many and served as an inspiration for young aspiring authors.
Their literary work, as well as their influence aside from it, are shaping the future for a better tomorrow. This shows that Arab writers are still highly praised and adored by their people and the world.
Diana Adjadj is a writer at Trust My Paper. She also works as a contributor writer for many prominent writing companies such as Grab My Essay and Studicus. She aspires to spread awareness about the importance of Arab writing. Successful Arab writers such as these motivated her to pursue her dream and become who she is today.
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