Elias Khoury

Elias Khoury, a prolific Lebanese novelist, playwright, critic, and public intellectual. He is a figure of considerable significance in the literary and academic realms. Born on July 12, 1948. Khoury grew up in a middle-class Greek Orthodox family in Beirut’s Ashrafiyye district. His literary journey began early with his engagement with the Lebanese novelist Jurji Zaydan works at the age of eight. Sparked his interest in his Arabic heritage and Islam. As he matured, his literary tastes expanded to include classical Arabic literature and Russian novels, as well as modernist literature.

Elias Khoury ‘s educational background is equally impressive. After completing his high school education at al-Ra’i al-Saleh High School in Beirut in 1966, he witnessed the increasing polarization of Lebanese intellectual life. Marked by a surge in pro-Palestinian and radical Arab nationalist sentiments. This tumultuous period influenced his decision to join Fatah in 1967, a major faction within the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Khoury’s time in Jordan, however, was cut short following the Black September events.

He then pursued higher education. Obtaining his degree in history from the Lebanese University in 1971. Followed by a PhD in social history from the University of Paris in 1972. Khoury’s literary career took off with his first novel, “On the Relations of the Circle,” published in 1975, followed by “The Little Mountain” in 1977, set against the backdrop of the Lebanese Civil War. His works, such as “The Journey of Little Gandhi” and “Gate of the Sun,” explore the complexities of the Lebanese Civil War and the Palestinian refugee experience in Lebanon. “Yalo,” another of his novels. It delves into the Lebanese judicial system’s use of torture, set against the backdrop of a destroyed Palestinian village.

Elias Khoury ‘s writing style is notable for its intricate narrative technique, often employing interior monologues and stream-of-consciousness. He uniquely blends Modern Standard Arabic with colloquial Arabic in his narrative, a technique not commonly seen in contemporary literature. His novels address complex political themes and fundamental human behaviors, earning acclaim for their depth and insight.

In addition to his literary achievements, Elias Khoury has held various editorial roles, including at the Palestine Liberation Organization’s magazine, “Shu’un Filastiniyya,” and the cultural section of Al-Safir. He served as the editor of Al-Mulhaq, the cultural supplement of the Lebanese newspaper Al-Nahar, from 1993 to 2009, where he critically examined Lebanon’s post-Civil War reconstruction. His tenure at Al-Mulhaq and marked by a focus on debates over memory and culture in Lebanon.

Elias Khoury ‘s influence extends to academia, where taught at prestigious universities across the Middle East, Europe, and the United States, including New York University, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University. His works have been translated into numerous languages, making them accessible to a global audience. Khoury’s contribution to literature and intellectual discourse is substantial, reflecting his commitment to exploring and understanding the complexities of Middle Eastern history, politics, and culture.

Books Written by Elias Khoury