Yusuf Sibai

Yusuf Mohamed Mohamed Abdel Wahab Al-Sibai (Arabic: يوسف محمد محمد عبد الوهاب السباعي‎; June 17, 1917 – February 18, 1978), was an Egyptian writer and minister.

Yusuf Mohamed Mohamed Abdel Wahab Al-Sibai
Born(1917-06-17)June 17, 1917
Cairo, Kingdom of Egypt
DiedFebruary 18, 1978(1978-02-18) (aged 60)
Pen nameYusuf Sibai
OccupationWriter and minister
EducationEgyptian Military Academy (1937)

Military positionsEdit

Sibai graduated at the Egyptian Military Academy in 1937. Since then, he assumed many positions, including teaching at the Egyptian Military Academy.

In 1940, he taught at the Cavalry Corps in the Academy, and later became a professor of military history in 1943, then he was elected manager of the Military Museum in 1949. He finally reached the rank of brigadier general.

Literary and journalistic positionsEdit

Sibai was an Egyptian writer. He became the Minister of Culture in 1973, and the chairman of the Al-Ahram Establishment and the head of Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He wrote 22 short stories and dozens of novels, the latest being Life Is A Moment in 1973. He was awarded the State Award in the Arts in 1973 and a large number of medals. Sibai was regarded as a unique writer and a sophisticated and intelligent politician.

Sibai was the chief editor of some Egyptian magazines, including Al-Resala Al-Gadida, Akher Sa'a and Al-Musawar in addition to Al-Ahram newspaper.

He was appointed a minister of culture by Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president back then, and remained in that position till he was assassinated in Cyprus on February 18, 1978 because of his support for President Sadat's initiative to make peace with Israel after the president historical visit to Jerusalem in 1977.

Literary and monetary value of his workEdit

Sibai's works were best-sellers. His novels were adapted in many films, which were described by critics as more important than the novels themselves. However, the importance of his work began to decline especially when Naguib Mahfouz's work started to draw most of the critics attention. Although many critics avoid referring to his work as the end of the Romantic Era in Egyptian literature, as it touches upon the needs of a specific age group of young readers, an Egyptian writer described Sibai's work as realistic and symbolic.

In the introduction to his book "Yusuf Sibai: The Knight of Romanticism», Mursi Saad Eddin mentions that Sibai was not just a romantic writer but one who expresses a political and social vision in his depiction of the events in Egypt.

In addition, Lotus Abdel Karim says that his role in the Egyptian culture is of no less importance than his role as a writer, and refers to the description of the late Egyptian critic Dr. Mohamed Mandour that Sibai "is not a writer who isolates himself in an ivory tower, but a man who goes to markets and walks through alleys and streets".

Yusuf Sibai is held as a phenomenon in the Egyptian cultural life. However, critics avoid dealing with his work save literature historians. Nowadays, the mention of his name is only limited to the film adaptations of his work, including "I'm going away", "Give Back My Heart", "In the ruins", "We Do Not Sow Thorns", "The Land of Hypocrisy" and "Al Saghamat". The Egyptian Television also produced a TV series about his life entitled Fares Ar-Romancia "The Romantic Knight".


Sibai was assassinated in Cyprus on February 18, 1978 while he was attending an Asian-African conference there. This murderous event had a negative effect on the Egyptian – Cypriot relations, and forced Egypt to cut ties with Cyprus, particularly after an Egyptian special military unit landed at Larnaca International Airport to arrest the assassins without informing the Cypriot authorities. After the assassination, the two murderers took about thirty hostages of the members of the delegations participating in the Solidarity Conference and imprisoned them in the hotel cafeteria. They threatened that they would kill the hostages by grenades unless the Cypriot authorities promised to fly them out of the country. The Cypriot authorities finally yielded to their request and it was resolved to take them on board of a DC8 Cypriot plane to escape outside Cyprus. The plane took off from Larnaca International Airport. The battle between the special Egyptian force and the Cypriot army had led to the deaths of several members of the Egyptian force while many were injured on both sides. The crime was later blamed on Abu Nidal Organization (ANO), a militant Palestinian splinter group.[1]


His worksEdit

  • The Deputy of Azrael – a novel (1947).
  • O Ye Nation Who Laughed – A book consisting of symbolic short stories (1948).
  • The Land of Hypocrisy – a novel (1949).
  • I'm going away – a novel (1950).
  • Umm Ratiba – a play (1951).
  • Al Saghamat – a novel (1952).
  • Between Abu El-Rish And Namish Park – stories (1950).
  • Sheikh Zo'rob And Others – stories (1952).
  • Dying For You, Night! – a novel (1953).
  • Searching for a Body – (1953).
  • In The Ruins – a novel.
  • Give Back My Heart – a novel (1954).
  • The Way Back – a novel (1956).
  • Nadia – a novel (1960).
  • Dried Tears – a novel (1962).
  • A Night with an End – a novel (1963).
  • Stronger Than Time – a play (1965).
  • We Do Not Sow Thrones – a novel (1969).
  • You're Not Alone – a novel (1970).
  • Smile on His Lips – a novel (1971).
  • Life Is A Moment – a novel (1973).
  • Spectra (1947).
  • Twelve Women (1948).
  • Deep Hidden Secrets (1948).
  • Twelve Men (1949).
  • In The Parade of Passion (1949).
  • From The Unknown World (1949).
  • These Souls (1950).
  • Lovers' Weeping Place – 1950

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit