Nazik Al-Malaika

Nazik Al-Malaika
Born (1923-08-23)August 23, 1923
Baghdad, Iraq
Died June 20, 2007(2007-06-20) (aged 83)
Cairo, Egypt
Nationality Iraqi

Nazik al-Malaika (Arabic: نازك الملائكة; 23 August 1923–20 June 2007[1]) was an Iraqi female poet and is considered by many to be one of the most influential contemporary Iraqi female poets. Al-Malaika is famous as the first Arabic poet to use free verse.[2]

Early life and career

Al-Malaika was born in Baghdad to a cultured family. Her mother was also a poet, and her father was a teacher. She wrote her first poem at the age of 10.[2] Al-Malaika graduated in 1944 from the College of Arts in Baghdad and later completed a master's degree in comparative literature at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a Degree of Excellence.[3] She entered the Institute of Fine Arts and graduated from the Department of Music in 1949. In 1959 she earned a Master of Arts in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the United States, and she was appointed professor at the University of Baghdad, the University of Basrah, and Kuwait University.

Poet and teacher

Al-Malaika published several books of poems:[4]

Al-Malaika taught at a number of schools and universities, most notably at the University of Mosul.

Leaving Iraq

Al-Malaika left Iraq in 1970 with her husband Abdel Hadi Mahbooba and family, following the rise of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party of Iraq to power. She lived in Kuwait until Saddam Hussein invaded that country in 1990. Al-Malaika and her family left for Cairo, where she lived for the rest of her life. Towards the end of her life, al-Malaika suffered from a number of health issues, including Parkinson's disease.[2]

She died in Cairo in 2007 at the age of 83.[1]


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