Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz had previously worked in the Egyptian civil service. Initially a short story writer, he later wrote novels such as Al-Thulāthiyyah, or The Cairo Trilogy. His novel Children of the Alley was banned for its religious references and led him to be stabbed by Islamists.
Bassem Youssef is an Egyptian comedian, producer, writer, television host, media critic, doctor, and surgeon. Best known for hosting a satirical news program called El-Bernameg, Youssef was named in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world in 2013. Bassem Youssef is also a YouTuber; his channel PlantBtv currently targets Arabic and English-speaking audiences around the world.
Taha Hussein was an Egyptian writer, intellectual, and one of the most influential personalities in 20th-century Egypt. Best remembered for his literary work, Hussein received 21 nominations for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature during his lifetime. Taha Hussein is also remembered for his political career; he served as the Minister of Education in Egypt.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi was an Egyptian scholar based in Qatar. An important influencer in the Muslim world, Al-Qaradawi is best remembered for his program, Sharia and Life. In addition to authoring over 120 books, Yusuf al-Qaradawi also helped found a website known as IslamOnline. Al-Qaradawi is often counted among the most influential Islamic scholars of his generation.
Nawal El Saadawi was an Egyptian feminist activist, writer, and physician. Described as Egypt's most radical woman, Saadawi wrote many books pertaining to the subject of women in the Muslim world. She is also credited with founding the Arab Women's Solidarity Association. Nawal El Saadawi won several prestigious awards, including the Seán MacBride Peace Prize and the Inana International Prize.
Aḥmad Shawqī was an Arabic poet laureate who worked at the court of the Khedive. He also wrote plays and prose, including five tragedies. On 17 June 1977, Aḥmad Shawqī's Giza residence was converted into a museum. His work is celebrated even today at a cultural center called the El Sawy Culture Wheel.
Lactantius was an early Christian writer who also served as an important advisor to Roman Emperor Constantine I. He is best remembered for his apologetic treatise Institutiones Divinae, which intended to establish the truth and reasonableness of Christianity to pagan critics. Lactantius was described as the Christian Cicero by humanists during the Renaissance.
Callimachus was an ancient Greek scholar, poet, and librarian. He was active during the third century BC in Alexandria, where he authored more than 800 literary works covering a wide variety of genres. Callimachus' work became a prominent reference point for Roman poets of the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire.
Apollonius of Rhodes was an ancient Greek writer best remembered for his epic poem, The Argonautica, which was written in the third century BC. The poem, which narrates the quest for the Golden Fleece by Jason and the Argonauts, acted as a model for the epics of Latin poets Gaius Valerius Flaccus and Publius Vergilius Maro.
Ahmed el-Tayeb is an Egyptian scholar who is currently serving as the Grand Imam of al-Azhar. Al-Tayeb served as the Grand Mufti of Egypt from 2002 to 2003 and then served as the President of Al-Azhar University from 2003 to 2010. Widely regarded as an important and influential leader of the Sunni Muslim community, Ahmed el-Tayeb has received several awards.
Gaius Julius Hyginus was a Latin author who studied under Lucius Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor. A prolific writer, Hyginus wrote biographical and topographical treatises, disquisitions on bee-keeping and agriculture, and commentaries on the poems of Virgil and Gaius Helvius Cinna.
Tawfīq al-Ḥakīm was an Egyptian visionary and writer. Counted among the pioneers of the Arabic drama and novel, Al-Hakim is credited with inspiring the works of future artistes like Mohammed Fairouz. Tawfīq al-Ḥakīm's novel A Bullet in the Heart was later adapted into a film and stage play.
Hamed Abdel-Samad is a German-Egyptian author and political scientist. A member of the Society of the Muslim Brothers during his university days, Hamed Abdel-Samad later questioned his own beliefs and published a controversial book titled My Farewell from Heaven, which he said was neither a call to renounce the Muslim faith nor an attack on his culture.
Nasr Abu Zayd was an Egyptian Quranic author, thinker, and academic. One of the most important liberal theologians in Islam, Abu Zayd wrote several important books in Arabic and English. Interestingly, Nasr Abu Zayd’s views sparked controversy within the Muslim world and he was declared an apostate by an Egyptian Sharia court in 1995.
Rifa'a al-Tahtawi was an Egyptian writer, translator, teacher, intellectual, and Egyptologist. Many of his works were aimed at bringing an understanding between Christian and Islamic civilizations. Rifa'a al-Tahtawi also played an important role in influencing the development of literature, science, law, and Egyptology in 19th-century Egypt.
Al-Busiri was a Muslim poet and pupil of Sheikh Abul Abbas al-Mursi. He is best remembered for his magnum opus, Poem of the Mantle, which is one of the most famous poems praising the Islamic prophet Muhammad. In the poem, Al-Busiri claims that the prophet cured him of paralysis.
Doria Shafik was an Egyptian poet, editor, and feminist. One of the most important and influential leaders of the famous women's liberation movement in Egypt, Doria Shafik is best remembered for her work in the mid-1940s that led to a change in the Egyptian constitution, granting Egyptian women the right to vote.
Nonnus, also known as Nonnus of Panopolis, was a Greek epic poet considered the most important of them all from the Imperial Roman era. Nonnus is credited with composing the epic poem Dionysiaca, which is one of the longest surviving works from Greco-Roman antiquity. His works seems to have greatly influenced the poets of Late Antiquity like Musaeus and Colluthus.
Abbas Mahmoud al-Aqqad was an Egyptian poet, journalist, and literary critic. He is widely regarded as a polymath as his writings cover a wide range of subjects, such as poetry, criticism, history, philosophy, Islamology, politics, science, biography, and Arabic literature. Apart from writing over 100 books, Abbas Mahmoud al-Aqqad also founded a poetry school called Al-Diwan.
Ahdaf Soueif is an Egyptian cultural and political commentator and novelist. She is best known for her second novel The Map of Love, which has been translated into over 20 languages. The book was also nominated for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. Ahdaf Soueif is also the recipient of the Cavafy Award and Mahmoud Darwish Award.
Tamim al-Barghouti is a Palestinian-Egyptian columnist, poet, and political scientist. Dubbed the poet of Jerusalem, Tamim is best known for his critically acclaimed poem In Jerusalem, which he presented in a television competition show called Prince of Poets in 2007. Tamim al-Barghouti has also worked as a professor at Georgetown University and the Free University of Berlin.
Hafez Ibrahim was an Egyptian poet whose poetry expressed concerns over social problems like women’s rights, education, and poverty. He was nicknamed the Poet of the People for his work to improve the lives of the poor. Hafez Ibrahim is often counted among the most important Egyptian poets who reinvigorated Classical Arabic poetry in the 19th century.
Ibn al-Farid was an Arab poet whose poetry is regarded as the peak of Arabic mystical verse. He is also credited with composing the longest mystical poem in Arabic. Some of Ibn al-Farid's poems are still revered by Sufis and other dutiful Muslims around the world.
Yūsuf Idrīs was an Egyptian short story writer, playwright, and novelist. Apart from producing his own literary works, Idris also contributed as a writer to the popular daily newspaper Al-Ahram. Yūsuf Idrīs' novel City of Love and Ashes earned him the prestigious Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 1997.
Ahmed Fouad Negm was an Egyptian vernacular poet best remembered for his work with composer Sheikh Imam. He is also remembered for his revolutionary and patriotic Egyptian Arabic poetry. Ahmed Fouad Negm's life and career inspired a book titled A Homeland Called Desire by Egyptian poet Rana al-Tonsi.
Mustafa Lutfi al-Manfaluti was an Egyptian poet and writer. He is credited with writing numerous popular Arabic books, which were usually a translation or novelization of French plays. Interestingly, Mustafa Lutfi al-Manfaluti couldn't speak or read French and relied on his friends to translate the French plays for him.
Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed was an Egyptian nationalist, anti-colonial activist, and intellectual. He is best remembered for his service as the first director of Cairo University. Widely regarded as one of the most important and influential intellectuals and scholars in the history of Egypt, Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed was also the architect of Egyptian liberalism and secularism.
Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu was a Turkish journalist, novelist, diplomat, and political figure. He is best remembered for his association with a Turkish newspaper called Tan, where he served as the founding editor-in-chief. He also contributed to another newspaper called İkdam during the Turkish War of Independence. Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu is also credited with co-founding the Kadro magazine.
Abdel Rahman Badawi was an Egyptian philosopher, poet, and professor of philosophy. An exponent of existentialism, Badawi has been regarded as the most important master of Arab existentialism. He wrote over 150 books, including 75 encyclopaedic works. In addition to writing in several languages, Abdel Rahman Badawi also taught at institutions like Ain Shams University and Kuwait University.
Herodas was a Greek poet and author. He is credited with writing short humorous dramatic scenes during the third century BC in Alexandria. His work achieved popularity among commoners, for it was written in a simplistic and humorous manner.
Sonallah Ibrahim is an Egyptian short story writer and novelist best known for his nationalist views. In addition to expressing his nationalist views, Sonallah Ibrahim's work also explores how repetition and mundane activities can be used to evaluate the themes of sexual frustration and boredom. In 2004, he was honored with the prestigious Ibn Rushd Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Amenemope was an Egyptian author who is often credited with writing a popular Egyptian wisdom text called the Instruction of Amenemope. The work is considered important, for it shares knowledge and advice for successful living. Amenemope, the son of Kanakht, is often portrayed as a sage and scribe who lived during the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt.
A 14th-century Arab Muslim author and theologian from Egypt, Ad-Damīrī was an expert on cannon law and natural history. He is remembered for authoring the first Arabic zoological encyclopedia, Ḥayāt al-ḥayawān. He lectured at various institutes of Cairo and was also a well-known mystic, renowned for his religious activities.
Egyptian author and scholar Fathi Osman, who promoted cooperation between Islam and other religions, aimed at making Islamic civilization and culture more understandable to non-Muslims through his writings. His writings include 40 books written in English and Arabic. His monumental work Concepts of the Quran gives an overview of the Quran for the general public.
Gamal al-Ghitani went from being a carpet designer to one of Egypt’s greatest authors. Best known for his novel Zayni Barakat, the author had also been a journalist for Akhbar El Yom. He received the Egyptian National Prize for Literature in 1980. He was also known for his views against Islamic fundamentalism.