Ghitani, Gamal al-

Ghitani, Gamal al-, 1945–2015, Egyptian novelist and journalist. He studied Oriental carpet design and apprenticed as a carpet maker before turning to journalism. A strong supporter of human rights, he was jailed for six months in 1966–67 for public dissent. He covered the 1973 Arab-Israeli war for the newspaper Akhbar al-Youm, and was named (1985) editor of the culture section of the state-owned newspaper Al-Akbar. Ghitani also was the founding editor of the literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab (1993–2011). His best-known work is the historical novel Zayni Barakat (1974; tr. 2010); ostensibly about totalitarianism under the 16th-century Mamluks, it is considered an allegory of Egypt under Nasser. His many other works include The Mahfouz Dialogs (2006; tr. 2007), notes from a series of recorded conversations involving the writer Naquib Mahfouz and his friends, and the novels Incidents in Zafarani Alley (1976; tr. 1986; tr. 2009 as The Zafarani Files), The Book of Epiphanies (1983–86; tr. 2012), and Pyramid Texts (1994; tr. 2007). Ghitani also published several short story collections. He was one of several intellectuals who supported the ouster (2013) of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

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