Bahaa Taher

Bahaa Taher


بهاء طاهر

Bahaa Taher was born in Cairo in 1935, but had roots in Luxor. His bachelor’s degree was in history and literature and his postgraduate degree in media from the University of Cairo in 1973. He was active in left-wing circles and contributed to the avant-garde literary magazine Galerie 68. He published his first short story in 1964, and his debut collection appeared in 1972. In Sadat’s Egypt in the 1970s, his books were censored. He lived in Switzerland between 1981 and 1995, where he worked as a translator for the United Nations and published a number of novels and short story collections from abroad. He then returned to Egypt where he continued to write novels, becoming one of the country’s most beloved authors. Several of his books have been translated into a number of languages including English, French, and German. Bahaa Taher co-founded Writers and Artists for Change within the opposition Kifaya movement, which in 2004 campaigned for political change. In 1998 he was awarded the Egyptian State Prize of Merit for Literature, and the Italian Giuseppe Acerbi Prize in 2000. In 2008 he won the first International Prize for Arabic Literature for his novel, Sunset Oasis. Taher died on 27 October 2022, at the age of 87.

© Hossam el-Hamalawy
Date of birth : 1935
Date of death: 2022
Country of birth: Egypt
Country of residence: Egypt & Switzerland
Contact: Andrew Nurnberg

Selected bibliography

  • واحة الغروب, Sunset Oasis, 2007; Dar El Shorouk, Egypt, 2017. English translation: Sunset Oasis, Sceptre, UK, 2009, trans. by Humphrey Davies; Norwegian translation: Der solen går ned, Vigmostad og Bjørke, Norway, 2020, trans. by Unn Gyda Næss; Greek translation: Οαση στο ηλιοβασιλεμα, Εκδοτικός Οίκος Α. Α. Λιβάνη, Greece, 2003, trans. by Persa Koumoutsi
  • نقطة النور, The Point of Light*, 2001; Dar El Shorouk, Egypt, 2017
  • الحب في المنفى, Love in Exile, 1995; Dar El Shorouk, Egypt, 2017. English translation: Love in Exile, AUC Press, Egypt, 2005, trans. by Farouk Abdel Wahab
  • خالتي صفية والدير, Aunt Sofia and the Monastery, 1991; Dar El Shorouk, Egypt, 2017. English translation: Aunt Sofia and the Monastery, University of California Press, United States, 1996, trans. by Barbara Romaine; Arabia Books, 2008
  • ذهبت إلى شلال, I Went to a Waterfall, 1985
  • قالت ضحى, As Doha Said, 1985; Dar El Shorouk, Egypt, 2022. English translation: As Doha Said, AUC Press, 2008, trans. by Peter Daniel; Georgian translation: დეიდა საფია და მონასტერი, Books in Batumi, Georgia, 2005, trans. by Zviad Tskhvetiani
  • أنا الملك جئت, I Am The King I Came, 1984
  • بالأمس حلمت بك, Yesterday I Dreamt of You*, 1984
  • الخطوبة, The Engagement*, 1972; Dar El Shorouk, Egypt, 2017

* Working title


Egyptian Author Bahaa Taher Dies at 87 by ArabLit, October 2022

All characters are grasped in the most convincing manner by Al Majalla, July 2012

Bahaa Taher is one of the most distinguished of writers in Arabic, and his fiction has both tenderness and melancholy by The Guardian, October 2009

Taher’s descriptions of the desert landscape are arrestingly beautiful by Banipal, 2009

With a powerful narrative voice and a genius for capturing the complex nuances of human interaction, Taher brilliantly depicts the poignant drama of a traditional society caught up in the process of change by Arab World Books, May 2001

Prizes and awards

  • International Prize for Arabic Fiction for Sunset Oasis in 2008
  • Italian Giuseppe Acerbi Prize for Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery in 2000
  • Egyptian State Award of Merit for Literature in 1998

Book(s) featured on this site

Reviewed by Persa Koumoutsi