|Biographical detail : ||Syria’s one of loved writers of fiction and a feminist.
Born into an elitist family and profoundly affected, as a teenager, by the Syrian revolt against the French Mandate rule in the 1920s, Ulfat’s strong messages were in harmony with the Arab nationalist secular Syrian regime.
Writing and publishing stories from her teens Ulfat’s first of several volumes of stories was published in 1954. Of her best-known novel, ‘Dimashq ya Basmat al-Huzn’, published in 1980, was translated into English as ‘Sabriya: Damascus Bitter Sweet’ in 1995. This tells the story of a young girl who grows up in the 1920s and develops national and female consciousness – the former being suppressed by the French, the latter by her family. The girl hangs herself in the beautiful courtyard of the family house, leaving a diary that forms the bulk of the novel. The story has been serialised on Syrian television.
As a lecturer and essayist, on social, educational and literary issues Ulfat’s novels deal with women who suffer, operate and survive by manipulating within a limited private world.
Ulfat Idilbi was born in a privileged family in Ottoman Damascus, and she divided her later years of her life between Damascus and Paris, where she lived with her daughter. She passed away in Paris.