Lebanese writers featured in the International Prize for Arabic Fiction show you the strength of these contemporary writers. Their writings tell a story about the rich literary history of the country and show readers the tumultuous history of Lebanon as well. This area has suffered complex issues regarding their ethnic, religious, and political divisions. They have suffered fifteen years of bloody civil war and the scars have fractured the sense of national identity. These top ten Lebanese writers have explored the displacement of individuals and the scars these years at war have created in their country. They have taken Lebanon heritage and put it into great writings.
List of Top 10 Most Famous Lebanese Writers of All Time until in 2017
10. Elias Khoury
Ellas Khoury wrote, White Masks a novel that tells his story of growing up in a war-torn Beirut. This novel was translated into English in 1981 and is written in a journalistic and visceral style. Khoury’s story tells how the war has impacted the lives of citizens and how it has affected their state of mind. The story also tells how the war has taken its toll on the country as a whole. Khoury had belonged to the Fatah faction as a militant at one point in his life, and he tells how he moved away from the violence and went towards literature. It tells how he shifted alliances to those around him in his war-torn country.
9. Khalil Gibran
Khalil Gibran is an American-Lebanese writer who is known as a philosopher, poet, novelist, and artist. His most famous poem is, The Prophet which has been translated into 40 languages. Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time and only falls behind Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu. His poem has been interpreted as a tale of Eastern mysticism and is considered a collection of essays following the prophet Al Mustafa. It tells the tales of a group of strangers and their interactions on a range of topics from the domestic to the philosophical and metaphysical. This writing gained cult status in America during the 1960’s.
8. Alexandre Najjar
Alexandre Najjar worked as a literary critic, lawyer, and novelist. These roles have influenced the poignant style of his writings. Najjar has written approximately thirty novels which often focus on his childhood memories of growing up in Lebanon during the Lebanese War. His stories tell how the war affected his character which he tells by interweaving humor into a personal voice that also speaks about the hard-hitting realities of the war’s effects. In his book, The School of War, Najjar uses narrative elements to comment on the university of war and how it produces suffering.
7. Amin Maalouf
Amin Maalouf worked as a director for a Beirut magazine until the civil war forced him to move to Paris. In Paris, he began writing about the history of both his life and that of his home country. He tells about the trauma Lebanon suffered and his exile experiences. His book, Gardens of Light is set during the historical period of the Middle East during the third century. He tells about the violate wars fought between the Persians, Romans, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Jews. Using these wars fought throughout history, he mirrors the situations occurring in modern day Lebanon.
6. Ibrahim Al-Koni
Ibrahim Al-Koni was born in the Fezzan Region in 1948. He was raised with the traditions of the Tuareg also known as the Veiled Men or the Blue Men. Al-Koni has been hailed as a magical realist and poetic novelist. He has published more than 80 books written in Arabic which have been translated into 35 languages. Al-Koni’s novel, Gold Dust tells the story of fleeing across the desolate Tuareg desert on camel after being rejected by his tribe and hunted by the kin of a man he killed. He is one amongst the Top 10 Most Famous Lebanese Writers of All Time until 2017.
5. Ghassan Kanafani
Ghassan Kanafani was a leading member of the Popular Front. He was also a Palestinian writer who wrote scholarly works of literature and politics. His first novel, Men in the Sun was published in 1962 in Beirut. Kanafani formed his basis on the study of Zionist literature with his thesis, Race and Religion in Zionist Literature in 1967. He was assassinated in a car bombing in July of 1972.
4. Leila Abu Zaid
Leila Abu Zaid is a Moroccan writer born in Qusaybah in 1950. She published her first book, Year of the Elephant in 1980 which was named after a battle fought in Islamic history. This is the story about an early religious battle where a flock of birds dropped stones on the enemy elephants forcing them to turn around. She creates a comparison between this battle and Moroccans battling for independence from France. She looks at the Moroccan independence fighters as birds compared to the mighty global power of France.
3. Mahmoud Darwish
Mahmoud Darwish has been hailed as Palestine’s most eminent poet. He published his first collection of poems, Leaves of Olives in 1964. Since that time, Darwish has published more than thirty poems and prose collections that have been translated into more than 22 languages. In his work, Darwish portrays Palestine as the loss of Eden, birth, and resurrection. He describes the anguish and dispossession of being exiled and the tradition of a political poet in Islam.
2. Dr. Khaled Hosseini
Dr. Khaled Hosseini is an American novelist who was born in Afghanistan. His famous novel, The Kite Runner gained him worldwide recognition. This novel was turned into a film which received multiple awards. He is now a special envoy who assists displaced people in war zones across the globe for the Unites Nations. Dr. Hosseini also gives humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through his foundation, Khaled Hosseini Foundation.
1. Abdel Rahman Munif
Abdel Rahman Munif was born in May of 1933 in Jordan. He is the son of a Saudi father and his mother was from Iraqi. His father was considered an expert in the oil industry. Rahman Munif devoted his life to writing novels and is considered one of the most important Arab novelists. His works reflect the social and political realities of the Arab heritage. His novel, Cities of Salt is one of his most important works and tells about the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia.
These above are the Top 10 Most Famous Lebanese Writers of All Time until 2017. Information and education are the only way to learn about the history of a country. Providing access to the work of these top ten Lebanese writers gives an insight on how countries struggle to survive through religion and politics and the impact it has on lives. They will give an important insight through great reading.