Jordanian author Elias Farkouh died today — Wednesday, July 15 — after an acute heart attack. He was 72:
The author was born in Amman, Jordan, in 1948, and attended primary and secondary school between Amman and East Jerusalem.
After graduation, he went to London, where he studied English for a year before going to Beirut to complete a degree in philosophy at the Arab University of Beirut. After that, he returned to Amman, worked he worked as a cultural journalist and publisher, continuing to work at Dar Azmina up until his death.
Farkouh’s stories were first collected in Al-Saf’a (The Slap, 1978). This was followed by Tuyour Amman Tuhalliq Munkhafida (Amman’s Birds Fly Low, 1981) and Ihda w Eshrouna Talqa lil-Nabeyy (Twenty-One Shots for the Prophet) a year later. The latter won him the 1982 Jordanian Writers Association award.
His novel Columns of Foam, which was first published in 1987, was perhaps his best-known; it won a State Encouragement Award and was named by the Arab Writers’ Union as one of the “best hundred novels of the twentieth century.” But Farkouh continued to write and publish prolifically. His The Land of Purgatory was among the six finalists for the 2008 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and his Drowned in Mirrors (2012) was named to the ArabLit authors’ favorites list in 2013.
An excerpt from Columns of Foam appeared in Banipal 13, translated by Issa Boullata.