Ali Ahmed Bakathir

Ali Ahmed

One of the prominent Arab writers of the twentieth century and a pioneer in the field of theater literature.. wrote historical drama, exceptional poetry and novels.


Ali Ahmed Bakathir was born in Indonesia in 1910 for Arab parents originally from Hadramout (Yemen). At the age of ten, Bakathir’s father insisted to take him back to Hadramout, where he lived and received his education. At an early age, Bakathir showed great brilliance in educational attainment and creativity. He composed poetry when he was younger than thirteen.

Bakathir moved around a lot. He lived in Aden, Hijaz, Somalia, and Abyssinia before settling down in Egypt. In Egyp in 1939t, he obtained his BA in the English Language at Fouad I University. He had strong contacts with great Egyptian thinkers and writers. He published his first theatrical work in Egypt, “Hammam in the Land of Ahqaf,” which he wrote earlier in the Hijaz in 1934.

The name Bakathir became associated with pioneers in the historical drama, and he participated strongly in the Egyptian cultural life as a poet, novelist, and in theater. Moreover, Bakathir was fluent in French, English, and Malay. In 1936 he translated Shakespeare’s play (Romeo and Juliet) from English literature into blank verse poetry, and two years later he composed his play (Akhenaten and Nefertiti) with free verse poetry which he became a pioneer in this poetic style.

Ali Ahmed Bakathir’s most famous work which gained fame and was turned into cinematic and theatrical works is Salama (1945). He published more work including Misar Juha (1952) a film directed by Ibrahim Emara, and it was originally a play in which he predicted the occupation of Palestine.

Bakathir has received many awards in Egypt, including the State Prize of Appreciation, shared equally with Naguib Mahfouz in 1962, the Ministry of Education Prize 1945 for the novel “Wa Islamah”.

On November 10, 1969, the great writer Ali Ahmed Bakathir passed away, at the age of 58, leaving behind dozens of works, including a group of manuscripts printed after his death.

May God have mercy on our great poet Ali Ahmed Bakathir

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