Mohamed El-Bisatie

Mohamed el-Bisatie, an acclaimed Egyptian novelist and short story writer. He was born in November 1937 and passed away on 14 July 2012. His birthplace, el-Gamalia in the Dakahlia Governorate, is scenically located near the shores of Lake Manzalah in the Nile Delta. El-Bisatie completed his education at Cairo University. Graduating in 1960, and subsequently embarked on a career in government service. He devoted many years to civil service, only retiring a few years before his passing.

Mohamed el-Bisatie began his literary journey in the early 1960s. Gaining recognition for his stories published in prestigious journals such as al-Masa’, al-Katib, and al-Majalla. He was a part of the Egyptian literary movement, which was propelled by the avant-garde magazine Gallery 68. His debut, a collection of stories titled “Al-kibar wa al-sighar,” was published between 1967 and 1968. Over the years. He penned more than a dozen works of fiction, encompassing both novels and short story collections.

Mohamed el-Bisatie ‘s works have not only been celebrated in the Arab world but have also reached international audiences, with six of his books available in English translation. His fiction has been translated into multiple languages. These languages including Italian, French, German, and Spanish, by notable translators like Denys Johnson-Davies and Hartmut Fahndrich.

Additionally, throughout his illustrious career, el-Bisatie received numerous awards. Including the Al Owais Prize in 2001 and the Sawiris Prize in 2008. His novel “Hunger” was shortlisted for the 2009 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, marking another milestone in his career.

Furthermore, El-Bisatie’s literary works predominantly revolve around rural settings, intricately detailing the lives of marginalized characters who are indifferent to the authority’s dominance or the world’s changes. His first story was published in 1962 after winning the first prize in a story competition from Egypt’s Story Club.

El-Bisatie’s literary portfolio includes around twenty works, both novels and short story collections. Notable among his novels are “The Merchant and the Painter” (1976), “The Glass Cafe” (1978), “The Difficult Days” (1978), “Houses Behind the Trees” (1993), “The Lake’s Hubbub” (1994), “Voices of the Night” (1998), “And the Train Comes” (1999), “Other Nights” (2000), and “Al-Khalediya.” His novel “Hunger” was a contender for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. His short story collections include “The Adults and the Children” (1968), “Talk from the Third Floor” (1970), “Dreams of Short-Lived Men” (1979), “This Is What Happened” (1987), “The River’s Curve” (1990), “A Faint Light That Reveals Nothing” (1993), and “Sunset Hour” (1996).

In his lifetime, el-Bisatie was honored with the Best Novel award at the Cairo International Book Fair in 1994 for “The Lake’s Hubbub,” shared the Sultan Al Owais Prize for Novel and Story in 2001 with Syrian writer Zakaria Tamer, and received the State Appreciation Award in Literature in 2012. El-Bisatie’s life came to a close in July 2012 after a battle with liver cancer, just days after receiving the State Appreciation Award in Literature. His death marked the loss of a profound voice in Arabic literature. Leaving behind a rich legacy of storytelling that delved into the depths of human experience and societal nuances.

Books Written by Mohamed El-Bisatie