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Recordings Reveal Tawfiq al-Hakim Writer for Children | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Tawfiq al-Hakim

London- Many people cannot believe that Tawfiq al-Hakim could have been an author of children’s literature.

They cannot believe that the man who wrote “The People of the Cave,” “The Return of the Spirit,” “The Return of Consciousness,” “My Donkey told me” and many other writings that raise philosophical and intellectual questions on thought and existence, spirit and consciousness and address the era’s complicated political and social problems could ever try to write for children.

Notably, writing stories for children requires simplicity of language and style, thought and approach, and necessitates inspiration from a whole different world of childhood, including its freshness and innocence.

It is true that al-Hakim was inspired by children’s song in “The Tree Climber” play, but he had never written stories that could be listed among those in ‘Children’s literature.’

Undoubtedly, the writer of “A Sparrow from the East” and “The Diary of a Prosecutor among Peasant” was aware of the fact that writing for children is not as easy as it seems and this is why he did not publish them back then or maybe he was not sure of their success; such a transfer remains a literary significant risk for a prominent writer.

Al-Hakim once said: “Simplicity is harder than depth. It is easier to write and narrate deep stories and words than to choose the easy style and terms that let the reader feel like I am sitting with him instead of feeling that I am teaching him. This is the problem I have been facing with children’s literature!”

Maybe, for these reasons too he resorted to recording several stories on cassette tapes in 1977 until the Egyptian Dar el Shorouk found and published them so that the Arabic reader could also be introduced to the other side of “Anxiety Bank’s” creativity.