Egyptian poet, novelist, short story writer, playwright, folklorist,critic, and translator, Arif Khudairi was born in Luxor, Qena and grew up in Aswan, a little town in the southern of Egypt. He was educated at Cairo University, where he majored in Arabic literature and earned his PhD in 1986. Khudairi is a very productive and imaginative writer who wrote 55 books, 52 fairy tales, 25 literary translations, 100 essays, and many other writings. He writes primarily in Arabic and English, frequently translating his works into both languages himself.
In May 1990, Khudairi founded and edited Majalat Al Dirasat Al ‘Arabiyyah (Journal of Arabic Studies) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and later in the same year he edited Al Majalah Al Dawliyyah Lil Drasat Al ‘Arabiyyah (The International Journal of Arabic Studies) in Bander Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. His Arabic poetry collections include Qasaid Hub 1983[Love Poems],a first Arabic poetry book to publish in Malaysia,Attair Al Jawwal,1984[The Wandering Bird],Ahlam Rabi‘iyyah,1991 [Springtime Dreams],a first Arabic poetry volume to publish in Brunei,Ahlam Attair Al Jawwal,1994[Dreams of the Wandering Bird],Al Tajwal Fil Mawani Al Ba’idah,1996[Wandering in the Far Away Harbors],Awraq Al Shajar,1999[Trees Leaves],Filamanku, 2004[Flamenco],Ahlam Saghirah,2009[Small Dreams],and Layali Gharnatah,2012[Granada Nights]. Some of his English poetry volumes are: Trees Leaves (1998), The Abode of Peace (2008), Rubaiyyat of Arif Khudairi(2004), Love Poems of Arif Khudairi (2011), and Divine Lake (2012). His poetry moves from alienation and longing, as in Dreams of the Wandering Bird, to the celebration of love and nature, as in Love Poems of Arif Khudairi (2011), to universal themes of love and divinity, as in Trees Leaves (1998), to peace and universal harmony, as in The Abode of Peace (2008), to Sufism and spirituality, as in Divine Lake(2012).His verse is noted for its astounding musicality, exquisite primal images, distinct style, depth, simplicity and wit. His novella, The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad (1999) is seen by critics as a highly symbolic narrative of good versus evil, altruism versus selfishness, of materialism versus spirituality. Among his short story collections are Tales of the Prophets (1993), Tales from the Arabian Sahara: The Trip and Other Stories (1998), and Arabian Fairy Tales: The Goblin Wife and Other Stories (2011). In his Arabic tales collections, he rewrote stories that have been either ignored or neglected by the westerners and which present a true account of the Arabs. His fairy tales hailed as a splendid addition to the Eastern oral tradition, and a superb transcription of the little-known Arabic folk tales. As for his short stories, they deal with various themes. Luxor: The City of Hundred Gates (1982) is a semi-autobiographical story. The Philosopher (1983) is a story of Mat, a poor old man who reflects profound philosophical views about life. Departure (1984) is about unrequited love. Homecoming (1993), examines psychological observations recorded by an Arab immigrant returning to his native land. Night Flight (2000) is a hilarious story taking place in a small hospital. The Lazy (2001), presents a frank and straightforward monologue of a middle-aged man Born a Lover (2002), recounts astonishing confessions of a modern time Don Juan. Khudairi wrote an autobiography Rihlati Ma‘a Al Shi‘r, 2014 (My Journey with Poetry).
He also has written several works of non-fiction, including Thoughts of the Times: Introduction to Arabic Literature(1985), The Arabs and the Art of Translation (2008), Teaching Arabic Literature to non-Arabs: Its Method and Objective(2009), Literary Translation (2011), Foreign Literature in Arabic: A Personal Experience (2011) and Scientific Research Methods (2015). Khudairi is also an excellent translator. He translated into Arabic eight Korean, Malaysian, Bruneian, Pakistani, English, and American books of poems. He wrote biographies of several poets such as Kim So Wol (1984), Muhammad Iqbal (2004), and Shukri Zain (2006).
His travels, lectures, and poetry readings took him around the world. Such extensive travels provide the backdrop and color for much of Khudairi’s writing, which filled with the themes of alienation, wandering, longing, separation, and flight of time. Khudairi is also a skilled painter, whose cover art and illustrations have sometimes accompanied his poetry. A number of his works has been translated into sixteen languages, including Arabic, English, French, Spanish, Malay, Urdu, Tagaog, and Bahasa Indonesia. He received several poetry awards, and in 2011, he was nominated for Griffin Poetry Award, Canada, for his anthology (Love Poems of Arif Khudairi). Khudairi taught at a number of universities, including Hankuk University for Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea (1979-1981), The University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA (1981-1982),The National University of Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor (1982-1983),The International Islamic University, PJ, Malaysia (1983-1985),The University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1987-1990), University of Brunei Darussalam, BSB, Brunei (1999-2007), and Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University, BSB, Brunei (2007-2012). In 2007, he was appointed the first Dean of the Faculty of Arabic Language and Islamic Civilization.
Khudairi is a member of various learned societies such as The Egyptian Writers Association, Cairo, Egypt, Modern Literature Association, Cairo, Egypt, The international Haiku association,Tokyo,Japan, and President of The Poetry Society, UBD, Brunei Darussalam.