Elias Khoury


© Elias Khoury



Elias Khoury, born in Beirut, is the author of fourteen novels, four volumes of literary criticism, and three plays. Khoury is a Global Distinguished Professor of Middle Eastern and Arabic Studies at New York University and was editor in chief of the literary supplement of Beirut’s daily newspaper Al-Nahar, nowadays he is editor in chief of The Journal of Palestine Studies in Beirut. 

Khoury was awarded the Palestine Prize for Gate of the Sun, which was named Best Book of the Year by Le Monde Diplomatique, The Christian Science Monitor, and The San Francisco Chronicle, and a Notable Book by The New York Times. As Though She Were Sleeping received France’s inaugural Arabic Novel Prize. In 2012 Khoury was awarded the UNESCO Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. In 2016 he won the prestigious Mahmoud Darwish Award for Creativity and donated his USD 25,000 award to Birzeit University, and he was honoured with the Katara Prize for Arabic Novel 2016 in the category of published novels. Recently Elias Khoury has been shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) 2017, the most important literary prize in the Arab world, run with the support of the Booker Prize Foundation in London.



In The Children of the Ghetto. My Name is Adam (“Awlad el-ghetto. Esmi Adam”), Adam Dannoun immigrated to

New York to escape a love affair that foundered in the psychological devastation caused by the occupation. He works in a falafel restaurant and settles down to write a novel which tells the love story of Waddah Al-Yaman, a famous Arab poet of the Umayyad period. His writing leads him to tell the stories of his childhood in the ghetto that the Israeli army, after expelling most of the inhabitants of Lydda (Lod in Hebrew), built for the small number who remained in the city. Literature merges with reality throughout his evocation of these memories.

The literary characters of the novels of Ghassan Kanafani, Amos Oz and Elias Khoury become real characters, and his account of the drama lived in the Palestinian ghetto merge with the narrator’s attempts to free himself from his own kidnapped identity. His testimony turns into limitless questions, as befits a tale where the stories reflect other stories stretching to infinity.



Elias Khoury is an artist giving voice to rooted exiles and trapped refugees, to dissolving boundaries and changing identities, to radical demands and new languages.

Edward W. Said



Gate of the Sun (“Bab al-Shams”) is the first magnum opus of the Palestinian saga. After their country is torn apart in 1948, two men remain alone in a deserted makeshift hospital in the Shatila camp on the outskirts of Beirut. Khalil holds vigil at the bedside of his patient and spiritual father, a storied leader of the Palestinian resistance who has slipped into a coma.

Beautifully weaving together haunting stories of survival and loss, love and devastation, memory and dream, Khoury humanizes the complex Palestinian struggle as he brings to life the story of an entire people. Originally published in Beirut in 1998, the novel has been a sensation throughout the Arab world, in Israel, and throughout Europe.



Few have held to the light the myths, tales and rumors of both Israel and the Arabs with such discerning compassion. Gate of the Sun is an imposingly rich and realistic novel, a genuine masterwork.

New York Times Book Review


Elias Khoury’s monumental novel is in a sense that groundbreaking book.

The Guardian


The word ”brilliant“ is etched across Khoury’s Gate of the Sun.

The Independent








Awlad el-ghetto. Esmi Adam
The Children of the Ghetto. My name is Adam

Shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) 2017

Katara Prize for Arabic Novel 2016

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 2016, 423 p.

France: Actes Sud 2018 Israel : Van Leer Romania: Polirom UK: MacLehose USA: Archipelago


Broken Mirrors: Sinalcol

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 2012

France: Actes Sud 2013 Italy: Feltrinelli 2014 Spain: Alfaguara 2015 (world rights) UK: MacLehose 2015 USA: Archipelago 2016


Ka’annaha Na’ima
As Though She Were Sleeping

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 2007, 392 p.

France: Actes Sud 2007 Germany: Suhrkamp 2012 Norway: Aschehoug 2011 Sweden: Leopard 2008 UK: MacLehose 2011 USA: Archipelago 2012



Beirut: Dar al-Adab 2002, 381 p.

Brazil: Record 2012 Catalan: Club Editor 2009 France: Actes Sud 2004, 2013 Germany: Suhrkamp 2011 Israel: Andalus 2005 Italy: Einaudi 2009 Netherland: Ambo 2006 Norway: Aschehoug 2009 Sweden: Leopard 2012 Spain: Alfaguara 2011 (world rights) USA: Archipelago 2008, Picador 2009 pb UK & ANZ : MacLehose 2010


Ra’ihat al-sabun
The Smell of Soap

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 2000, 91 p.

Adapted for the theatre by Lina Abiad and performed on Gulbenkian Theatre at LAU (Beirut) 2000


Bab al-shams
Gate of the Sun

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 1998, 1999, 527 p.

Palestine Prize

Audio rights: Kitab Sawti, Stockholm

Arabic: Brazil: Record 2008 Catalan: Club Editor 2007 France: Actes Sud 2003 Germany: Klett-Cotta 2004, dtv 2007 pb India: DC Books 2010 Israel: Andalus 2002 Italy: Einaudi 2004, Feltrinelli 2014 pb Netherlands: Anthos 2010 Norway: Aschehoug 2004 Portugal: Quetzal 2012 Sweden: Leopard 2005 Spain: Alfaguara 2010 (world rights) Turkey: Hece Basin Yay 2013 USA: Archipelago 2006, 2016 pb, Picador 2007 pb UK & ANZ: Harvill Secker 2005, Vintage 2006 pb


Majma‘ al-asrar
The Box of Secrets

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 1994, 208 p.

France: Actes Sud 2009 Germany: C.H. Beck 2000, dtv 2004 pb Israel: Van Leer 2017


Mamlakat al-ghuraba’
The Kingdom of Strangers

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 1993, 128 p.

Germany: Das arabische Buch 1998 Turkey: Pegasus USA: University of Arkansas 1996


Rihlat Ghandi al-saghir
The Journey of Little Gandhi

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 1989, 2000, 208 p.

France: Actes Sud 1995, 2004 Israel: Xargol Italy: Jouvence 2001 Spain: Icaria-Nadhari 2009 Turkey: Pegasus USA: University of Minnesota 1994, Picador 2009


Al-wujuh al-bayda’
White Masks

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 1981, 1986

France: Actes Sud 1992, 2007 Israel: Hakibbutz Hameuchad Italy: Einaudi 2007 USA: Archipelago 2010


Abwab al-madina
City Gates

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 1981, 1990 112 p.

UK: University of Minnesota 1993 USA: Picador 2000


Al-jabal al-saghir
Little Mountain

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 1977, 1984, 163 p.

Albania: Zenit 2009 France: Actes Sud 1987, 2009 Sweden: Alhambra 2002 UK: Carcanet 1989, 1995 USA: University of Minnesota 1989, Picador 2007


‘An alaqat al-da’ira 
Regarding the Relations of the Circle

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 1975, 1985



Short Stories:

Al-mubtada’ wal-khabar

Beirut: Dar al-Adab 1984