Samir El-Youssef

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Samir El-Youssef (Arabic: سمير اليوسف‎‎) (born 1965) is a Palestinian-British writer and critic, who was born in Rashidieh, a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, where he lived until he was ten, before moving to Sidon.[1] El-Youssef's father is a Sunni and his mother is from the only Shia Palestinian family.[1] He emigrated to Cyprus in 1989 and since 1990 has been living in London, where he studied philosophy and gained a Master of Arts degree from the University of London. In 2000, he was granted British citizenship.[1]

He writes in both Arabic and English, and some of his work has been translated into German, Italian, Greek and Norwegian. In 2004, he co-authored a book with Israeli author Etgar Keret, called Gaza Blues: Different Stories.[2] His latest book, The Illusion of Return, published in 2007, is his first novel written in English. He is also an essayist with a wide range of interests including literature, politics, philosophy and cultural studies. His essays and reviews have appeared in major Arabic periodicals and newspapers such as the London-based Al-Hayat, as well as on, The Guardian's Comment is Free and in the New Statesman.

In 2005, the Swedish branch of the organisation International PEN granted El-Youssef the Tucholsky award, named after Kurt Tucholsky and given each year to a writer or publisher who is either being persecuted or threatened, or living in exile.[1][3][4]



  1. ^ a b c d Matthew J Reisz (2007-01-19). "Samir El-youssef: At home with the heretic". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  2. ^ Richard Allen Greene (2004-06-04). "Mid-East writers reach across divide". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  3. ^ "Tucholsky Award 2005". European Writers' Congress. 2005-05-01. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  4. ^ "Exiled Palestinian writer wins award". Fox News. 2005-04-27. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 

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