Colette Khoury

(1935 - )

Syrian writer and novelist, Khoury was born in Damascus and graduated from Damascus University with a bachelor"s degree in French literature.

She is the granddaughter of former Syrian Prime Minister Faris al-Khoury, who was a graduate of the American University of Beirut and served as a member of the group of Syrian statesmen who opposed French occupation from 1920. As the first Christian prime minister of a predominantly Muslim country, Faris al-Khoury attended the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco in April, 1945.

Colette’s grandfather encouraged her pursuit of an independent life as a writer and an artist. From 1990 to 1995 she served as an independent member of the Syrian parliament, doing honor to her grandfather’s judicious political leadership.

In 1959 she shocked the Arab world with a novel in which she wrote openly on love; this breakthrough novel "Ayyam Maahou" (The Days With Him) was the first time a woman had come out so boldly on a subject considered taboo in conservative Syrian society. The novel was based on a love affair with the legendary Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani.

She has written more than 20 novels, including:

Ayyam Maa’h (Days with Him, novel), 1959
"Ushroon ‘Aman (Twenty Years, French-language poetry), 1957
Layla Waheda (One Night, novel), 1961
Demashq Bayti Al-Kabeer (Damascus, My Big House, short stories) , 1969
Wa Marra Sayf (A Summer Passed, novel), 1975
Ayyam Maa’ Al-Ayyam (Days with the Days, novel), 1979

In 2008, Khoury was appointed literary advisor to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. She currently writes for the Syrian governmental newspaper Al-Baath on a broad range of political and literary issues.

In January 2009, she was appointed Syria"s first ever ambassador to Lebanon.