CAIRO – 28 June 2021: Today marks the 132nd birth anniversary of the legendary Egyptian writer Abbas Mahmoud Al-Akkad.
Akkad was a great writer, poet, philosopher, politician, historian, and journalist; he was hence dubbed the “monk of literature”. He presented a unique example in modern Arabic literature, and reached a unique rank among others.
Abbas Mahmoud Al-Akkad was born in Aswan Governorate in 1889. His father was a simple employee in the records department.
Akkad contented himself with obtaining an elementary certificate, but he devoted himself to reading and educating himself; his library contained more than thirty thousand books.
Moreover, Akkad worked in many government jobs, but he hated government work and viewed it as a prison for his literature, so he did not last long in any job he joined.
Akkad turned to journalistic work and joined Al-Dustour newspaper, published Al-Diyaa newspaper, and wrote in the most famous newspapers and magazines at the time.
Furthermore, Akkad devoted his life to literature. He did not marry, but lived numerous love stories, two of which were immortalized in his novel "Sarah".
Akkad obtained membership in the Arabic Language Academy in Cairo, and was a corresponding member of the Arabic Language Academy in Damascus and its counterpart in Baghdad.
He was also granted the State Appreciation Award in Literature, but he refused to receive it, as well as refusing the honorary doctorate from Cairo University.
Akkad was a commando who fought many battles. In literature, he clashed with the greatest poets and writers, and a fierce battle took place between him and the Prince of Poets Ahmed Shawki, in his book “The Diwan in Literature and Criticism.”
He also founded the "Al-Diwan School" with Abdul Qadir al-Mazini and Abd al-Rahman Shukri, where he called for the renewal of imagination and poetic image and the commitment to organic unity in poetic construction.
He also attacked many writers and poets, such as Mustafa Sadiq al-Rafi'i. He had intellectual battles with Taha Hussein, Zaki Mubarak, Mustafa Jawad and Bint al-Shati'.
Akkad participated strongly in Egypt's political life. He joined the Wafd Party and valiantly defended Saad Zaghloul, but he resigned from the party in 1933 following a dispute with Mustafa Al-Nahhas.
Also, Akkad attacked the king while preparing the constitution and in return was imprisoned for nine months. He also objected to the 1936 treaty, and fought tyranny, absolutism, fascism and Nazism.
Akkad’s writings comprised more than one hundred books, in addition to many articles that are difficult to enumerate. However, he only has one story book, which is “Sarah”.
He died in 1964, leaving behind a huge legacy.