Rifaat, Alifa (1930–1996) By Guardi, Jolanda
Fatimah Abdullah Rifaat, born in Cairo on 5 June 1930, belonged to an Egyptian family of Turkish origin. She began to write in her youth, but her works were not published until late in her life, due to the opposition of her family first, and her husband next, who considered writing unsuitable for a woman. When very young, she was forced to marry a mining engineer, from whom she divorced after eight months of marriage. She then married a cousin who only allowed her to publish sporadically and with the pen name Alifa for a couple of years and then pressured her to stop. He also prevented her from continuing her studies. Rifaat resumed writing only after this husband’s death. She published her first short story in 1955 and continued publishing from the mid-seventies onwards. She died in Cairo in 1996.