Alifa Rifaat

(1930 –)


Born in Cairo in 1930, Alifa Rifaat wanted to go to art school as a child, but her father, who was an engineer, did not believe in the value of secondary education for girls and Alifa was married to her cousin, a policeman. With him, she traveled throughout provincial Egypt. She left her country only three times, once for the Hajj in 1980, once for the Umra in 1982, and finally for the International Feminist Book Fair in London in 1984. Alifa published her first short story at the age of seventeen. Her husband forbade her from writing after her story “My Secret World” attracted too much attention, but she continued to write secretly and published two collections of short stories after his death as well as eighteen short stories in literary journals. One English translation of a collection of short stories was published in London in 1984.