Radwa Ashour: A writer of stance



Sat, 26 May 2018 - 11:39 GMT


Sat, 26 May 2018 - 11:39 GMT

Google is honoring the prominent modern Arabic literature icon late Egyptian author Radwa Ashour with a Google Doodle to celebrate the influential writer birthday on May 26 – Google.

Google is honoring the prominent modern Arabic literature icon late Egyptian author Radwa Ashour with a Google Doodle to celebrate the influential writer birthday on May 26 – Google.

CAIRO – 26 May – 2018: Google is honoring the prominent modern Arabic literature icon, the late Egyptian author Radwa Ashour with a Google Doodle to celebrate the influential writer’s birthday on May 26.

The veteran writer led a rich life with a career that spanned over 40 years. A long successful journey launched Ashour as an icon of literature during her life and after her death.

Ashour was born in 1946 to a family with great literary background as her father was a lawyer who was fond of literature and her mother was a poet. Her early literary awareness came as a result of her grandfather Abdel Wahab Azzam, who was a diplomat and a literature professor. After graduating from the Faculty of Arts at Cairo University with a major in Comparative Literature, Ashour undertook her Masters program and travelled to US where she received her PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1975.

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Radwa Ashour - Egypt Today.

Ashour’s political stances

Her Political stances were an integral part of her academic career. When the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat argued for normalization in the Israel-Palestine conflict, Ashour contributed to the establishment of the National Committee against Zionism in Egyptian universities. When the government of Hosni Mubarak intervened in academic life, she joined the March 9 group calling for the independence of Egyptian universities.
Ashour showed tremendous dedication throughout her career, becoming a professor of English and Comparative Literature in 1986. She served as head of the English Language and Literature department from 1990 to 1993.

Her work

In 1983, Ashour released her first book titled, “The Journey: Memoirs of an Egyptian Student in America.” Two years later, the writer releaser her first novel, titled, “Warm Stone,” in 1985.

Her work included a notable group of books that enriched the Arab Literature library such as “Siraaj” and the trilogy “Granada,” dating back to the period of La Convivencia in Spain, during the era where Christians, Muslims and Jews lived alongside one another. “Granada” was chosen to be among the 105 best Arabic novels of the 20th century by the Arabic Writers’ Union.

In “Spectres,” she tackled scenes from her own youth with a political background of incidents that occurred during Late Egyptian Presidents Gamal Abdel-Nasser and Sadat’s years.Here three books: “Heavier Than Radwa,” “Blue Lorries” and “The Woman from Tantoura,” were all based on autobiography fictions.

Despite being 100 percent Egyptian, the renowned author is Palestinian at heart; a characteristic that is apparent through her passionate writings, where she blended reality and historical fiction based on the idea of resistance against oppression in her novels.

Among many of Ashour’s novels, ”Farag” and “Woman Of Tantoura” focused equally on conflicts in Egypt and Palestine.

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Radwa Ashour and Mouried Barghouti - Egypt Today

In “Woman Of Tantoura,” Ashour denounces Israeli violence and strong-heartedly defends the Palestinian case, as if she was of Palestinian origins. Her defensive attitude is reflected through the struggle of a Palestinian woman born in the Palestinian village called “Tantoura,” highlighting the mass killings in the refugee camps located in Lebanon called “Sabra” and “Shatila.”

The same concept was also reflected in Ashour’s novel “Farag,” in which she produced a touching and dramatic sequence of events that take place during the regimes of former Egyptian presidents Abdel Nasser and Sadat.

Ashour was married to Palestinian poet Mouried Barghouti and had a son with him, Tamim al-Barghouti, who became a famous Egyptian/Palestinian poet. Her Palestinian-oriented family has influenced her literary works.

Throughout history, the art scene has been able to portray the strong cultural and artistic ties between Egypt and Palestine and continues to produce authentic works inspired by both cultures manifested within remarkable productions.

Ashour’s influence extended from the Arab world to abroad. “Radwa Ashour was a powerful voice among Egyptian writers of the postwar generation and a writer of exceptional integrity and courage. Her work consistently engages with her country’s history and reflects passionately upon it,” wrote Marina Warner in the prominent newspaper The Guardian.

Ashour is a beautiful-mind writer who will remain forever alive in the hearts of her readers around the world.



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