Tawfiq Yusuf 'Awwad

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Tawfiq Yusuf 'Awwad (28 November 1911 – 1989) (in Arabic توفيق يوسف عواد) was a Lebanese writer and diplomat. His 1939 novel al-Raghif, inspired by Arab resistance to the Turks in World War I, "was quickly recognized as a landmark in the literary expression of Arab nationalism".[1]


'Awwad was born in Bharsaf, a village in Matn District, the second of seven children. As a child he experienced the famine in Mount Lebanon at the end of World War I. He was educated in Bikfayya before attending the Jesuit College of St Joseph in Beirut from 1923 to 1927. He became a journalist, becoming editorial secretary of the nationalist Damascus-based newspaper Al-Qabas in 1931. He married the daughter of a Lebanese merchant and qualified as a lawyer before returning to Beirut in 1933. Until 1941 he worked as editorial secretary of the new daily newspaper al-Nahar. In 1941, after a month's imprisonment as a result of his nationalist activities, he founded al-Jadid, a weekly which soon became a daily, and which continued until 1946.[1]

In 1946 he was invited to join the Lebanese diplomatic service. He served in a wide range of postings, retiring in 1975 as Lebanese Ambassador to Italy. He chose to stay in Lebanon during the 1975-90 Lebanese Civil War, losing manuscripts and correspondence when his Beirut flat was bombed in 1976. He died in a bomb blast in 1989.[1]


Short story collections[edit]

  • al-Sabi al a'raj (The Lame Boy), 1936
  • Qamis al-suf (The Woollen Shirt), 1937
  • al-'Adhara (The Virgins), 1944
  • Matar al-Saki (Frosty Airport), 1982


  • al-Raghif (The Loaf), 1939.
  • Tawahin Bayrut, 1972. Translated as Death in Beirut, 1976.


  1. ^ a b c Paul Starkey (17 March 2010). "Tawfīq Yūsuf ʻAwwād". In Roger M. A. Allen; Joseph Edmund Lowry; Devin J. Stewart. Essays in Arabic Literary Biography: 1850-1950. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 37–44. ISBN 978-3-447-06141-4. Retrieved 30 March 2013.