Monday, August 9, 2010

Kamel Kilani

Here's a great post from blogger Baheyya on the Egyptian author Kamel Kilani, an author who popularized children's versions of the Nights in Egypt in the early 20th century.  Her post is primarily biographical and it's the best thing I've read on Kilani online in English and a great intro to the development of children's literature in Egypt.

Here's the post:

And from the post:  "Kamel Kilani Ibrahim Kilani didn’t set out to be the modern Egyptian pioneer of children’s literature. He just adored stories and had fond memories of a Greek nanny who raised him on a steady diet of fantastic myths and legends. He also recalled being captivated by tales of Abu Zayd al-Hilali and al-Zanati Khalifa recounted by an itinerant Azharite poet and storyteller in Midan al-Qala’a. Kilani was born on 20 October 1897 in the citadel neighborhood in Cairo, to a father who was a prominent engineer. He studied English literature in high school and enrolled at the Egyptian University (now Cairo University) from 1917 to 1930, reading French and English, and also attending Arabic grammar, logic, and morphology classes at al-Azhar. He spent a few brief years as a high school English teacher and was then appointed as an editor and reviser at the Awqaf Ministry in 1922 (where Naguib Mahfouz also worked), where he spent the rest of his career until retirement in 1954."

More on Kilani:

Brief history of Children's Literature in the Arabic speaking world:

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