Elias Khoury

(Beirut, Lebanon, 1948)

Writer, literary critic and journalist.

A writer, literary critic and journalist, he has worked for a number of publications, among them the newspaper As-Safir (1979-1991) and as editor-in-chief of the culture and literary supplement of the newspaper An-Nahar (1992-2003). He has taught at Columbia University in the City of New York and at the University of Beirut.

Considered to be one of the leading intellectuals and writers in the Arabic language, he has written several novels, outstanding amongst which are al-Jabal al-Saghir (1977 - published in English as The Little Mountain, 1989), Rahlat Gandhi al-Saghir (1991 - published in English as The Journey of Little Gandhi, 1994) and Abwab al-Madinah (1993 - published in English as Gates of the City, also in 1993). In 1996 he published his work The Kingdom of Strangers, which shows the Lebanese capital as the violent setting of the Israeli-Lebanese wars and civil war, and describes how the latter has now divided the different ethnic, linguistic and religious groups that had previously lived together. The novel La cova del sol (2007 - Gate of the Sun, first published in Arabic in 1998), which offers the testimonies of Palestinian refugees in Lebanese camps, received the Palestine Prize and was translated into many languages, including Hebrew. His latest novel, published in French as Comme si elle dormait (and in English as As If She Is Sleeping - 2006) was banned in Egypt just after he received the most prestigious award of Arab letters, the Sultan Ben Ali Ouais Prize for his fictional work as a whole.

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