Taleb Alrefai

Taleb Alrefai

Taleb Alrefai is a Kuwaiti novelist and short story writer born in 1958. He chaired the judging committee for the International Arab Novel Prize “Al-Booker” in 2009.

Some of Al-Rifai’s works have been translated into English, French, and German. He has participated in numerous cultural events both inside and outside Kuwait.

Al-Rifai earned a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Kuwait University in 1982 and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from Kingston University London. He began his literary career during his undergraduate studies in the mid-seventies.

He worked as a cultural advisor for the Ministry of Information and served as a visiting professor at the University of Iowa as part of the International Creative Writing Program in 2012. Additionally, he worked as a visiting professor at the American University of Kuwait, teaching Creative Writing. He is also the founder and director of the Al-Multaqa Prize for Arabic Short Stories.

Since the mid-seventies, Al-Rifai has published literary, critical, and artistic articles and studies in various Kuwaiti, Gulf, and Arab newspapers, magazines, and journals. He has been a writer for the cultural page of the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat since 1999 and a writer for the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida since 2007.

He served as the Director of Culture and Arts Administration at the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, and as Director and Advisor for the newspaper “Al-Funoon” between 2003 and 2008.

Al-Rifai also chaired the judging committee for the International Arab Novel Prize in 2010, and his novel “In Paradise” was longlisted for the 2016 award. He is also the founder and director of the Cultural Forum in Kuwait since 2012.

His works include novels such as “Shadow of the Sun,” “Scent of the Sea,” “Summer Words,” “The Robe,” “In Paradise,” “The Najdi,” “Habi,” and “The Abduction of the Beloved.”

His short stories include “Abu Ajaj May You Live Long,” “Close My Soul to You,” “The Mirror of Dust,” “Sandy Tales,” “Sun,” “Tiny Heists,” “The Chair,” “Dark Grey,” and “Dr. Nazil (A Series of Stories).”

He has also written plays such as “Wedding of Fire.”

His other publications include “Insight and Enlightenment… A Man and an Issue: A Study,” “The Theater in Kuwait… A Historical Perspective: A Study,” and “Ismail Fahd Ismail – Writing Life and the Life of Writing.”


Encouragement State Prize for the Novel in 2002 for the novel “Scent of the Sea.”

Special Judging Committee Prize at the Cairo International Book Fair for his overall novels and short stories in 2013.

Cultural Personality of the Year Award at the Sharjah International Book Fair Awards in 2021.

Books Written by Taleb Alrefai