Zakaria Tamer

Zakaria Tamer

  • Syria

Zakaria Tamer is a Syrian author that has long been recognized as one of the pre-eminent short fiction writers of the Arab world, as well as the foremost writer of Arabic children’s fiction. He was born in Damascus in 1931 and left school at thirteen to help support his family, and subsequently educated himself. He published his first stories in 1957 and thanks to his success he was offered a job as a government official in The Writers and Publishing Department of the Syrian Ministry of Culture. In the following decades he served in different positions in the Syrian cultural establishment: he was editor and co-edited literary magazines, was head of the Syrian’s television drama department, and was also the co-founder of the Arab Writers Union in Syria. In 1980’s, after publishing some excerpts from the book The Characteristic of Despotism by Abd Al-Rahman Al Kawakibi in which the author condemns tyranny, Tamer was forced to resign from his position as editor of Al-Ma’rifa cultural magazine. Soon after that he left Syria for the UK, but carried on working for Arab Magazines. In 2015 Zakaria Tamer was awarded the Mahmoud Darwish Award for freedom and Creativity. Earlier awards include the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation Prize for Stories, Novels and Drama in 2001, The Syrian Order of Merit in 2002, The Cairo First Short Story Prize in 2009 and In the same year the Blue Metropolis literary prize. Tamer has published eleven collections of short stories, two collections of satirical articles and numerous children’s books. His works have been translated into many languages. Since 2012 he has been writing regularly on his Facebook page Al-Mihmaz, which features very short stories and satirical pieces in support of the Syrian revolution. He lives in London. 

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