Omaima El Khamis

Omaima El Khamis


أميمة الخميس

Omaima Abdullah El Khamis is a Saudi Arabian writer, born in 1966. She graduated with a BA in Arabic Literature and worked as a teacher and director of the Department of Educational Media within the Ministry of Education, before becoming a full-time writer in 2010. Since 1993, she has published four short story collections. Her first novel Al-Bahriyat (Sailors) appeared in 2006. It was reprinted seven times and a special edition was printed in Egypt. Her second novel published in 2008, The Leafy Tree, was longlisted for the 2010 International Prize for Arabic Literature. Saja’s Visit was published in 2013 and translated into French in 2021. Her most recent novel,Voyage of the Cranes in the Cities of Agate or the The Book Smuggler (2017) won the 2018 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature and was translated into English by Sarah Enany. El Khamis has published a number of children’s books which have been translated into other languages. She writes a weekly column for Elaph newspaper. 

Her Twitter account (in Arabic):

© Twitter (personal account)
Date of birth : 1966
Country of birth: Saudi Arabia
Country of residence: Saudi Arabia
Publisher(s): Dar Al Mada & Dar Al Saqi

Selected bibliography

  •  مسرى الغرانيق في مدن العقيق, Voyage of the Cranes in the Cities of Agate* / The Book Smuggler, Dar Al Saqi, Lebanon 2017. English translation: The Book Smuggler, Hoopoe Fiction, 2021, trans. by Sarah Enany ; Chapter One, text available on ArabLit, trans. by Nesrine Amin and Sawad Hussain
  • زيارة سجى, Saja’s Visit*, Dar Madarek, 2013; French translationFemmes de la mer, L’Harmattan, 2021, trans. by Nada Ghosn
  • الوارقة, The Leafy Tree*, Dar Al Mada, Iraq, 2008 and republished by Dar Damascus, 2009
  • البحريات, Sailors*, Dar Al Mada, Iraq, 2006

*Working title


Omaima Al-Khamis won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature for her work of historical fiction by Arab News, May 2021

Saudi writer Omaima Al Khamis’s novel won critical acclaim when it was originally published in Arabic in 2018 by The National, May 2021

It’s a journey that takes Mazid years to complete as he moseys his way across the Islamic world by A Bookish Type, March 2021

Omaima Al-Khamis: ‘Mahfouz is the Sisyphus of the Arabic Novel’  by ArabLit, December 2018

The Crime of the Elite: A Feminist Reading of Omaima AlKhamis’ Saja Visit by International Journal of English Literature and Culture, August 2014

Should There Be Quotas for Women in Saudi Book Clubs?  by ArabLit, December 2010

Prizes and awards

Book(s) featured on this site

Reviewed by Persa Koumoutsi