Top Egyptian poet Shousha dies at 80

Nicknamed ‘Guardian of Arabic’, Shousha shot to fame with his long-running radio show, ‘Our Beautiful Language’

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Farouq Shousha
Gulf News

Cairo: Prominent Egyptian writer and radio host, Farouq Shousha, one of the Arab world’s leading contemporary poets, died on Friday aged 80, state television reported.

Born in the coastal province of Damietta in February 1936, Shousha graduated from the Arab Studies Faculty in 1956.

Two years later, he joined the Egyptian state radio where he riveted the audience with his famous programme Our Beautiful Language. On this show, which he presented for many years, Shousha highlighted aesthetics of Arabic by reciting and dissecting selected pieces from Arabic poetry. He had a melodious voice.

Shousha was a staunch advocate of disseminating refined culture among ordinary people.

“It is high time we had culture walking on the ground,” he once said in an interview.

Nicknamed the “Guardian of Arabic”, Shousha was a member of the Cairo-based Arabic Language Academy. He penned 13 poetic anthologies noted for its flowing style and captivating imagery. In 2016, he won the Nile Prize for Literature, Egypt’s most prestigious award.

Tributes poured in for Shousha on Friday.

"The Arabic language has lost one of her great lovers and poets. God bless the memory of Farouk Shousha. May his soul rest in peace," tweeted His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

“Farouq Shousha’s death represents a big loss for the cultural community,” the Arabic Language academy said in a statement.

Egyptian Culture Minister Helmi Al Namnam eulogised Shousha as a “great poet and mentor”.

“Millions of Egyptians and Arabs were taught at his hands,” Al Namnam said.

Shousha was to be buried in his hometown later on Friday.