Eighty years after her death, a new book revives the thinking of the Lebanese essayist and poet May Ziade (1886-1941) on women’s education and other social questions.
The daughter of a Lebanese Maronite father and a Palestinian mother, Ziade moved with her family from Nazareth to Cairo to become one of the most important Arab women writers in the first half of the 20th century.
The 858-page book, “May Ziade: Al-Ahram Articles,” is published in Arabic by the Al-Ahram Center for Translation and Publishing, in cooperation with the Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Cairo, and edited by the Egyptian poet and journalist Azmi Abdel-Wahab.
Ziade studied Islamic philosophy and languages at the Egyptian University, which was founded in 1908, the year she arrived in Cairo.
Before turning to Arabic, she wrote in French, under the pen name Isis Copia. Her real name first appeared in February 1911 in Al-Mahroussah newspaper, founded by her father and one of several publications to which she contributed.
That year too, she began her literary relationship with the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran. They exchanged well-known letters until his death in 1931 but never met.