Khairy Shalaby

Khairy Shalaby


خيري شلبي

Khairy Shalaby was born in a village in the Nile Delta in Egypt, in 1938. His father died when he was young, and he began to work at a young age struggling against hunger and poverty. He lived in the Cairo cemeteries (the City of the Dead). In the 1950s, however, he joined Salah Abu Seif’s cinema-writing workshop, which changed his life. He began writing for radio and television, before turning to fiction. In his fiction, he introduced his signature-style of mixing language registers within a single sentence or paragraph. He is known for his evocation of the Egyptian street.

Khairy dedicated his life to writing, and published over 70 books. Theatre criticism was among his passions. His work on the history of Egyptian theatre led him to discover many lost manuscripts, which he then reviewed and published some of them. His novels were bestsellers; many were adapted into movies and TV shows, winning national and international prizes. He died in 2011.

© Al Tareeq
Date of birth : 1938
Date of death: 2011
Country of birth: Egypt
Publisher(s): Dar El Shorouk
Contact: Ahmed Bedeir

Selected bibliography

  • أولنا ولد, Our First is a boy*, Dar El Shorouk, Egypt, 2008
  • صالح هيصة, The Hashish Waiter, Dar Hilal, Egypt, 2000; English translation: The Hashish Waiter, AUC Press (Hoopoe fiction), Egypt, 2011, trans. by Adam Talib; French translation: Le Temps du kif, Actes Sud/Sindbad, France, 2006, trans. by Frédéric Lagrange
  • وكالة عطية, The Lodging House, Dar El Shorouk, Egypt, 1999; English translation: The Lodging House, AUC Press (Hoopoe Fiction), Egypt, 2006, trans. by Farouk Abdel Wahab
  • رحلات الطرشجى الحلوجى, The Time-Travels of the Man Who Sold Pickles and Sweets, Madbouly Publishing House (Egypt), 1991; English translation: The Time-Travels of the Man Who Sold Pickles and Sweets, AUC Press (Hoopoe fiction), Egypt, 2010, trans. by Michael Cooperson

* Working title


The most enjoyable thing about Khairy’s prose is the way he mixes language levels within a single sentence or paragraph by Arablit, 2011

These two major awards reflect the achievements of Shalaby in writing his remarkable novel by Banipal, 2007

Complete review of The Lodging House by ArabNews, republished on The Complete Review, May 2007

An overview of the author’s life on the Arab World Books site from Al Ahram Weekly  

Prizes and awards

  • His novel Istasia was longlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2010
  • The Lodging House won the Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation in 2007
  • The State Medal for Literature in 2005
  • Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature for وكالة عطية (The Lodging House) in 2003

Book(s) featured on this site

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