Celebrating the centennial of Ihsan Abdel Quddous

A bust of the late writer will be permanently installed in the Rose al-Yusuf Foundation building in Cairo.
Sunday 27/01/2019
Engraved in memory. A bust of late novelist Ihsan Abdel Quddous, designed and sculpted by Mohamed Thabit.                             (Al Arab)
Engraved in memory. A bust of late novelist Ihsan Abdel Quddous, designed and sculpted by Mohamed Thabit. (Al Arab)

CAIRO - Egyptian media press group Rose al-Yusuf celebrated the centenary of the birth of journalist and novelist Ihsan Abdel Quddous on January 19.

In attendance were actresses who had depicted characters from his novels in performances, former newspaper colleagues and those he taught as media students.

Abdel Quddous (1919-90) was the son of Egyptian actor Mohamed Abdel Quddous and actress and journalist Fatma al-Yusuf, better known as Rose al-Yusuf. He was editor-in-chief of Rose al-Yusuf Group from 1945-64.

In addition to his journalistic work, Abdel Quddous wrote approximately 60 novels and plays that are considered an essential part of the Arab cultural heritage. Many of his pieces were turned into films.

“Ihsan Abdel Quddous, father of a unique and excellent journalistic style, had tried his hand at all writing forms that had a great impact on readers. Thus, he wrote political editorials, social editorials, short stories and long novels, some of which were transformed into films and dramas that became very popular,” said Abdel Sadek Shourbagi, chairman of the board of Rose al-Yusuf Foundation.

A bust of the late writer, designed and sculpted by Mohamed Thabit, was unveiled. The sculpture will be permanently installed in the Rose al-Yusuf Foundation building in Cairo.

A half-hour documentary about Abdel Quddous, produced and directed by Mona Ashmaoui, was screened during the centennial event. The film included a lengthy interview with Abdel Quddous conducted by Mufid Fawzi, as well as testimonials by Abdel Quddous’s colleagues, children, neighbours and lead actors, including Samir Sabri, Nadia Lutfi and Hassan Youssef, in films based on his stories.

Ahmed Abdel Quddous, son of the late writer, said that other institutions, including Egyptian Ministry of Culture and the National Union of Journalists, offered to host the celebration “but we preferred to have the ceremony here at Rose al-Yusuf where [my father] lived and worked and which carries his mother’s name.”

He said the centenary would also be marked with a week-long screening of his father’s films in Cairo and a celebration hosted by the Egyptian-Lebanese Publishing House, which publishes Ihsan Abdel Quddous’s work.

A panel discussion about Abdel Quddous included former Minister of Culture Helmi al-Nemnem, screenwriter Mustafa Muharram, novelist Youssef Al-Qaid, actress Lubna Abdel Aziz, social thinker Mohamed Aboul-Gheit and actress Nabila Ebeid, who appeared in many films based on works by the late writer.

“Abdel Quddous’s dramas represented a turning point in my artistic career,” said Ebeid. “All the characters I played from his work were totally convincing. It was as if he was choosing the novels for me to turn them into films.”

Ebeid was in “And She Fell in a Sea of Honey,” “The Investigation,” “Please Give me this Medicine,” “Legitimate Days,” “The Dancer and the Drummer” and “The Dancer and the Politician,” all of which were film adaptations of novels by Abdel Quddous.

The programme ended with the awarding of prizes from Ihsan Abdel Quddous Salon in the presence of President of the National Union of Journalists Abdul Mohsen Salama and President of the National Press Council Karam Gabr.

22