In peace and without much notice, the writer and poet Lucy Yacoub departed from our world earlier this week
In peace and without much notice, the writer and poet Lucy Yacoub departed from our world earlier this week. Her death appeared to warrant none but a few lines in the obituary page in the Cairo daily al-Ahram. Yet Yacoub, who must have been in her early 80s—to the very end, she kept her date of birth a closely guarded secret—had enriched the Egyptian literary scene with some significant works as well as distinctive translations of classic English literature.
Yacoub belonged to the so-called Sixties Generation of Egyptian literature who, despite having come on the footsteps of the giant pioneers of Arab literature of the first half of the 20th century, among whom were Taha Hussein and Abbas al-Aqqad, became literary figures in their own right.
The daughter of Sinai
Yacoub was born in Alexandria and earned a diploma in journalism. She worked with the iron and steel national project from 1955 to 1960, then with the manganese project in Sinai, until she retired when she was general manager. She worked with the media office of the United State##s embassy in Cairo, then became editor of the Arab women magazine, and freelanced with Watani.
Among the books she wrote were several books on the Sinai: The Virgin of Sinai, Back to Sinai, A Journey to Sinai, and We are Back…Sinai.
Yacoub also wrote many articles on the same topic, among those was one under the title, “Sinai, the Holy Land”, in which she wrote:
“Developing Sinai serves to forge a tie between Egyptians and that land, just as in ancient times. The land of Sinai was trodden by the sacred figures of all the heavenly religions: Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, and Moses; Jesus as a baby with His mother Mary and Joseph; and several Islamic figures.”
Her passion for the Sinai earned Yacoub the nickname “Daughter of Sinai”.
Of all the dozens of awards she had received, she was most proud of the one she had got from the Supreme Council of Arts for these efforts in 1974, the year when her short story collection Virgin of Sinai was published.
Yacoub wrote many significant books other than her Sinai works. The Timor family and Arabic literature, which traced the work of Mohammed and Ahmed Timor; Anis Mansour…an intellectual and philosopher; Bird of the Orient …Tawfiq al-Hakim, and The language of literature and poetry in the writings of the Arab women.
Yacoub also contributed in enlightening Arabic-speaking children with her translations and writing. For them she wrote her science fiction work Story of the Manganese Mountain.
Yacoub is a woman worthy of remembrance and her works deserve to be reprinted for the benefit of future generations.
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