Saadi Yousef

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Saadi Yousef.

Saadi Yousef (Arabic: سعدي يوسف‎) (born 1934 near Basra, Iraq) is an Iraqi author, poet, journalist, publisher, and political activist.[1] He has published thirty volumes of poetry and seven books of prose.[2]


Saadi Yousef studied Arabic literature in Baghdad.[1] He was influenced by the free verse of Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, Shathel Taqa and Abd al-Wahhab Al-Bayyati and was also involved in politics from an early age, leaving the country permanently in 1979 after Saddam Hussein's rise to power. At the time his work was heavily influenced by his socialist and anti-imperialist sympathies but has since also taken a more introspective, lyrical turn. He has also translated many well-known writers into Arabic, including Oktay Rifat, Melih Cevdet Anday, Garcia Lorca, Yiannis Ritsos, Walt Whitman and Constantine Cavafy. Since leaving Iraq, Yousef has lived in many countries, including Algeria, Lebanon, France, Greece, Cyprus, Yugoslavia and currently he resides in London.

In 2004, the Al Owais Prize for poetry was given to Yousef but was controversially withdrawn after he criticized UAE ruler Sheikh Zayed bin al-Nahiyan. In 2007 Yousef participated in the PEN World Voices festival where he was interviewed by the Wild River Review.


Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Saadi Yousef". International Literature Festival Berlin. 2003. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  2. ^ "Saadi Yousef". The Poetry Center, Smith College. n.d. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 

External links[edit]