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Ashour, Radwa (1946–) - BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:, PERSONAL HISTORY, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, LEGACY

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Radwa Ashour (also Ashur) is an Egyptian novelist, short-story writer, literary critic, and university professor.

BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS

Name: Radwa Ashour (Ashur)

Birth: 1946, Cairo, Egypt

Family: Husband, Murid al-Barghuthi (Palestinian); one son: Tamim (b. 1977)

Nationality: Egyptian

Education: B.A. (English), Cairo University, 1967; MA. (comparative literature) Cairo University, 1972; Ph.D. (African-American literature) the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1975

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:

  • 1967: Begins teaching at Ain Shams University
  • 1972: Helps establish the Higher Committee for Writers and Artists in Egypt
  • 1985: Publishes first novel, Hajar Dafi
  • 1994: Publishes Gharnata ; it is declared best book of the year by the General Egyptian Book Organization
  • 1995: Wins first prize at Cairo Arab Women’s Book Fair for Gharnata
  • 2005: Co-edits The Encyclopedia of Arab Women Writers: 1873–1999

PERSONAL HISTORY

Ashour was born on 26 May 1946 in Cairo, Egypt. She earned her B.A. in English from Cairo University in 1967 before moving on to complete her M.A. in comparative literature from Cairo University in 1972. Ashour obtained her Ph.D. in African-American literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1975. She began teaching at Ain Shams University in Cairo in 1967, where she remains professor of English literature. Ashour married noted Palestinian poet Murid al-Barghuthi in 1970 and briefly moved with him to Kuwait in 1971.

INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS

Ashour’s father was a lawyer, and she grew up in a house full of books and reading. After becoming a scholar and a writer, she produced academic literary studies in both Arabic and English as well as prize-winning fiction. Her novel Gharnata (Grenada, 1994), first of a trilogy on the Muslim community in Spain during the period of the Spanish Inquisition, has garnered much praise for its subtle historical focus, beautiful descriptive writing, and rendering of gender and generational relations; the second and third parts were published as Maryama, wa’l-Rahil in 1995. She had already published three novels that differed widely in technique and theme— Hajar dafi (1985), Khadija wa Sawsan (1989) and Siraj (1983)—and a travel memoir, al-Rihla (1992). Since then, she has published an autobiographical novel, Atyaf (1998) that plays with conventions of authorship and the inside/outside of the text, and a volume of linked short stories in the form of reports by an elusive narrator, playing ironically with the notion of an authorial double and perhaps with the still-prevalent critical tendency to equate the characters created by female writers with the author herself (Taqarir al-Sayyida Ra) (2001).

Ashour has published critical studies on West African literature, on the Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani, on Lebanese-American writer Kahlil Gibran, and on William Blake; she has also published a collection of critical essays (Sayyadu al-Dhakira) . Several of her short stories have been translated into English (My Grandmother’s Cactus) . She co-edited The Encyclopedia of Arab Women Writers: 1873–1999 (2005), and supervised the translation into Arabic of volume nine of the Cambridge History of Literary Criticism (2006).

THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE

Ashour is a noted writer. In particular, her trilogy Gharnata won her considerable acclaim. The book won first prize at the Cairo Arab Women’s Book Fair in 1995, and was declared best book of the year by the General Egyptian Book Organization in 1994.

LEGACY

Ashour is still active, and it remains too early to assign to her a legacy.

Ashrawi, Hanan Mikha'il (1946–) - PERSONAL HISTORY, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, LEGACY [next] [back] Ashman, Howard

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