Born in Cairo in 1929, Professor Izz Ad-Din Ismail received his BA from Fuad Al-Awal University, and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Ain Shams University. His academic journey at Ain Shams University started in 1951 and extended for nearly 50 years, during which he became Professor of Arabic Literature, Dean of the College of Arts and Vice-President of the University. He also served as Director of the Arab Cultural Center in Bonn (Germany), Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council for Culture, President of the Egyptian Academy of Arts, Chairman of the Egyptian Book Organization and professor or visiting professor at different universities throughout the Arab World.
Professor Ismail’s books (totaling 20) and numerous seminal articles bear witness to his prominence as an intellectual and literary critic. He insightfully associated modern literary concepts with classical views, and was characterized in his writings by profundity and vision, as well as moderation. This allowed him to make significant contributions to both contemporary and traditional schools of Arabic literary criticism. His impact as a literary critic and thinker is best exemplified by his pioneering research embodied in his book: The Aesthetic Foundations of Arabic Literary Criticism. His other literary texts include: Abbasid Poetry; Contemporary Arabic Poetry; Psychology of Literature and Literary and Linguistic Sources of Arabic Heritage. He translated several novels from world literature, including Forster’s 1924 novel: A Passage to India.
Professor Ismail was the founder of the Egyptian Association of Literary Criticism, the Mobile Library and four literary journals. He was an avid participant in the Egyptian cultural life, and was widely known and respected in academic and cultural circles throughout the Arab world. His contributions were recognized – in addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Arabic Literature – by the Egyptian State Prize for Literature and the Order of Sciences and Arts (First Class). Professor Ismail died in 2007.
Professor Abd-Allah at-Tayyib (Sudan) and Professor lzz ad-Din Ismail Abd Al-Ghani (Egypt) were awarded the prize for their distinguished contribution in the field of Arabic literary criticism. Their published works were widely recognized as a leading authority in their field as exemplified by their very well-known studies which exerted wide influence in this field.