Yawmeyat Kamel El-Shennawi (Diaries of Kamel El-Shennawi), Edited by: Rehab Khaled, (Cairo: Dar Al-Karma),584pp, 2020.
Dar Al-Karma has published the diaries of the late renowned Egyptian journalist, Kamel El-Shannawi, (1908 – 1965).
Egyptians who are familiar with songs like La Takzibi by Nagat and Habibaha and Lasta Qalby by Abdel-Halim Hafez have been influenced by him without reading a letter he wrote, that’s how influential journalist and poet Kamel El-Shennawi was.
The diaries give a picture of his life and the connections he had with the cultural and political figures of his lifetime such as Taha Hussein, the Dean of Arabic Literature, Mohamed Hassanien Heikal, and Mostafa Amin, one of founding pillars of the Egyptian journalism industry.
He wrote songs for many of the celebrities of his age like Umm Kulthum, Abdel-Halim Hafez, Farid Al-Atrash and Nagat.
The editor of the book Rehab Khaled collected the materials from El-Shennawi’s writings in various Egyptian newspapers and what he wrote down about his own life.
El-Shennawi was born in 1908 and his father was head of the Sharia Courts in Egypt, and his uncle was Mamoun El-Shennawi, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. He started his journey in journalism in 1928 when he sent articles to some newspapers. The turning point in his life was when he met with famous Egyptian poet, Ahmed Shawky, who liked one of his poems and asked him to read it in one of the prestigious cultural salons.
He then became the literature editor in Al-Ahram before becoming the chief editor of Akher Saa magazine. He was known to have a very wide and strong social network that gathered politics, culture and public figures of his time.