Dr. Abdullah Al-Ghathami, professor of criticism and theory at King Saud University, is a respected literary figure in the Arab world.
He gained a bachelor’s degree in Arabic in 1969 from the college of Arabic at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University, in Riyadh. He then traveled to the UK to do his doctorate program and in 1978 obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Exeter.
The critic and thinker has been described by his conservative opponents as the “slave of Satan” and the “rabbi of modernity.”
After returning to Saudi Arabia from the UK, Al-Ghathami joined King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah where he delivered courses on criticism and helped in establishing the university’s college of Arabic. In 1988, he moved to King Saud University in Riyadh, where he is now professor of criticism and theory.
For 12 years, he has been vice president of the Jeddah Literary Cultural Club where his contributions have enriched the knowledge of members through cultural lectures and forums.
He was also a member of the advisory council of the prestigious Sheikh Zayed Book Award for five years but resigned in 2010 after parts from one of his works were plagiarized by an award winner, who was later stripped of the prize.
Around 600 studies and literary and criticism publications have discussed or referred to Al-Ghathami’s analytical views and he has authored several books including “The Tale of Modernity,” “Cultural Criticism: A Look at Arab Cultural Patterns,” and “The Culture of Illusion.”
A member of numerous cultural consultative committees, he has won many awards and prizes such as the Gulf States Arabic Translation Bureau’s prize for human sciences, and the Al-Owais Cultural Award for critical studies.
Al-Ghathami’s Twitter handle is @ghatham.