Tāmir, Zakariyyā (1931–) By Columbu, Alessandro
Born in Damascus in 1931, Zakariyya Tāmir (Arabic زكريا تامر also transliterated Zakaria Tamer) is a renowned Syrian short-story writer, columnist, and the author of numerous books for children. He grew up in the al-Baḥṣa district of the Syrian capital and received formal education until the age of 13. He then left school to work as a blacksmith in what was then the embryonic Syrian Republic, which had just obtained independence from France. As part of a larger wave of authors coming from peasant and working-class backgrounds that appeared in the Arab Middle East during the 1950s and 1960s, Zakariyyā Tāmir emerged as a short-story writer in the second half of the 1950s when he began publishing his novellas in al-Nuqqād, a Damascene literary magazine run by Sa‘id al-Jaza’iri. The literary and cultural renaissance (known in Arabic as al-Nahḍa al-‘arabiyya) that the Arab world had witnessed since the late eighteenth century had been hitherto represented almost exclusively by male writers coming from urban upper-class settings.