Egyptian Novelist Gamil Attia Ibrahim, 1937-2020

Egyptian journalist and novelist Gamil Attia Ibrahim died today in Switzerland, where he lived:

Photo from: Association of Accredited Correspondents at the United Nations.

Born in 1937 in Cairo, Ibrahim studied in the Faculty of Commerce before he switched into the Academy of Arts. He had a number of different jobs in his early life: a clerk at a textile factory in Shubra El-Kheima, a music teacher for children, as well as a teacher of math and engineering in both Egypt and Morocco.

He published a few short stories before he began work for the Egyptian Ministry of Culture in the early sixties. In 1968, he co-founded the magazine Gallery 68.

He moved to Switzerland in 1979, where he worked as a correspondent for several Arab newspapers and radio stations and continued to write fiction.

Author of some dozen novels, his 1952 was among his most well-known, tracing mid-twentieth-century transformations in Egyptian society. His acclaimed 1986 novel Down to the Sea was re-issued by Dar al-Karma in 2014:

 Down to the Sea, the only one of his works translated to English, takes place in the City of the Dead during the Sadat era. His later novel Scheherazade on the Banks of Lake Geneva drew on his long experience around the UN.

From novelist Mansoura Ez Eldin, with Gamil Attia Ibrahim in 2011:

Gamil Attia Ibrahim’s short story “The Old Man” can also be found in Homecoming: Sixty Years of Egyptian Short Storiesed. Denys Johnson-Davies.