Radwa Ashour

Radwa Ashour


رضوى عاشور

Radwa Ashour was an Egyptian novelist, translator, and professor of literature at Ain Shams University, Cairo, where she served as the head of the English department from 1990–1993. She obtained her BA and MA from Cairo University and graduated with a PhD in African-American Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1975. Throughout her education and career, Ashour was interested in political activism, human rights, and freedom, which are reflected in her literary oeuvres. She participated in student sit-ins and demonstrations in 1972, was involved in founding the National Committee Against Zionism in Egyptian Universities and helped establish the March 9 Group for University Autonomy which opposed the interference of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in academic affairs. Ashour’s literary writing revolves around sociopolitical predicaments of her time, with an interest in national and regional history. Palestinian resistance was of particular interest to Ashour’s writing, strengthened, perhaps, by her love affair and marriage to the late Palestinian poet Mourid al-Barghouti. Some of her finest work speaks to the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation, including her novel translated into English The Woman from Tantoura: A Novel from Palestine (2014). Ashour’s published writings include a series of novels, novellas, short stories, memoirs, autobiographical fiction, and academic studies. 

© Jadaliyya
Date of birth : 1946
Date of death: 2014
Country of birth: Egypt
Country of residence: Egypt
Publisher(s): Dar Al Adab & Dar El Shorouk

Selected bibliography

  • الصرخة: مقاطع من سيرة ذاتية, The Scream: Fragments of an Autobiography*, Dar El Shorouk, Egypt, 2015
  • أثقل من رضوى: مقاطع من سيرة ذاتية, Heavier Than Radwa: Fragments of an Autobiography*, Dar El Shorouk, Egypt, 2013
  • الطنطورية, The Woman from Tantoura: A Novel of Palestine, Dar El Shorouk, Egypt, 2010. English translation: The Woman from Tantoura : A Novel of Palestine, AUC Press, Egypt, 2014, trans. by Kay. Heikkinen
  • أطياف, Specters, Dar Al Hilal, Egypt, 1999. English translation: Specters, Interlink Publishing, USA, 2011, trans. by Barbara Romaine
  • غرناطة, Granada : A Novel, trilogy, Dar Al Hilal, Egypt, 1994. English translation: Granada: A Novel, Syracuse University Press. USA, 2003, trans. by William Granara
  • خديجة و سوسن, Khadija and Sawsan*, Dar El Shorouk, Egypt, 1989
  • الرحلة: أيام طالبة مصرية في أمريكا, The Journey: Memoirs of an Egyptian Student in America, Dar Al Adab, Lebanon, 1983. English translation: The Journey: Memoirs of an Egyptian Student in America, Interlink Publishing, USA, 2018, trans. by Michelle Hartman

* Working title


Radwa Ashour is a staple name for anyone in the region who has an interest – no matter how passing – in Arabic literature, politics, or history. Novelist, academic, critic, university professor, revolutionary, wife to Palestinian poet Mourid Al-Barghouti, and mother to the famous poet Tamim Al-Barghouti; Radwa Ashour is seen by many as an icon” in “5 Revolutionary Egyptian Women Authors to Learn About” by Egyptian Streets, 2022

Radwa Ashour: Novelist who used her work to speak out on human rights issues and champion the poor and marginalized” by The Independent, December 2014

‘Whenever I Think of Writing… I Remember Radwa Ashour’, Tribue to Radwa Ashour by ArabLit, March 2014

Githa Hariharan in conversation with Radwa Ashour and Ahdaf Soueif organized by NewsClickIn, April 2010 (Youtube video)

Prizes and awards

  • Al Owais Award in 2011
  • Prize of the First Arab Woman Book Fair in Cairo for the Granada trilogy in 1995
  • Radwa Ashour won the Cairo International Book Fair Prize in 1994

Book(s) featured on this site

Reviewed by Hiyem Cheurfa