Ulfat Idilbi

(1912 – 2007)

Idilbi was born in Damascus, Syria in 1912. She was one of the best-known Syrian writers.

She has published five collections of short stories and two novels, both of which have been translated in to English. Her first novel, Dimashq ya Basimat el Huzn (Damascus Bitter Sweet), was published in 1980. It deals with Damascus in the 1920s and the struggle against French occupation, and was made into a television series.

In 1991, when the author was seventy-nine years old, her second novel Hekayat jaddi Grandfather’s Story was published.

The last decades of her life were spent between Damascus and Paris, where she died in 2007.

Her novels include:
al-qarar al-akheer (the Last Decision), 1947
qisas shamia (Damascene Stories), 1954
wida"an ya sham (Goodbye, Damascus!), 1963
yidhak ash-shaytan (the Devil is Laughing), 1974
natharat fi adabna al sh"bia (Thoughts on popular literature), 1974
asi ad-domou’ (Mutiny of Tears), 1976
dimashq ya basimat el huzn (Damascus - the Smile of Sadness), 1981
nafahat dimashqi (The Fragrances of Damascus), 1990
hekayat jiddi (Story of My Grandfather), 1999

Reference: The Anchor Book of Modern Arabic Fiction. ed. Denys Johnson-Davies, 2006, American University of Cairo Press, p178.