Abdullah Al-Ghathami

Abdullah Al-Ghathami

Abdullah Al-Ghathami, a renowned academic and literary critic, was born in 1946 in Unaizah, Al-Qassim. Renowned professor of criticism at King Saud University, Riyadh, teaching at the College of Arts, Arabic Language Department. Al-Ghathami’s distinguished contributions in the realms of cultural criticism, women’s studies, poetry, and critical thought, which commenced in the mid-1980s, earned him the Cultural Personality of the Year Award from the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in 2022, marking a significant shift in the Arab critical discourse.

Al-Ghathami’s early life and education were rooted in Unaizah, where he was born. He completed his secondary education at the Scientific Institute in Unaizah in 1965, followed by a bachelor’s degree in Arabic Language from the College of Arabic Language at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh in 1969. He later achieved his doctorate from the University of Exeter in 1987. Known affectionately by his kunya, “Abu Ghada,” he prefers this title over “Doctor.”

Al-Ghathami is prominent in cultural criticism and women’s language studies, with his works characterized by diversity. His first publication was a study on the linguistic features of Hamza Shahata’s poetry, followed by numerous influential works that enriched the Saudi cultural scene. He played a key role in Saudi Arabia’s literary debates, notably in the Jeddah Literary Club during the 1980s.

His book “The Tale of Modernity in Saudi Arabia” is a significant reference for understanding cultural evolution in the Kingdom. Al-Ghathami is an ethical voice in Saudi culture, engaging with opponents ranging from conservatives like Awad Al-Qarni to modernists. He has been writing critical articles for the Riyadh newspaper since the 1980s and served as the vice president of the Jeddah Literary and Cultural Club, where he played a crucial role in shaping the club’s cultural project through lectures, seminars, conferences, and the publication of specialized books and translations.

Academic and critical contributions have earned Al-Ghathami recognition, establishing extensive influence in academic and cultural circles. He served on editorial boards, including the College of Arts and Humanities Magazine (1981-1983) and the Journal of Signs (1991-1998). Contributed to Contemporary Writings magazine in Beirut since 1996 and the Sheikh Zayed Award Advisory Committee from 2006 to 2010.

Received the Gulf Arab States Educational Administration Award and the Al Owais Cultural Foundation Award in Critical Studies in 1999. The Arab Thought Foundation recognized him for Critical Creativity in October 2002 in Cairo.

Books Written by Abdullah Al-Ghathami