Ali Ahmed Bakathir was born in Indonesia in 1910. He came from Arab parents and his early education was thoroughly traditional and Islamic. However, in 1934 he moved to Egypt to study English Literature at the University of Cairo. While still a student he had developed a completely different style for his own Arabic writings, using drama as a medium for a moral message.
Bakathir had worked as a school teacher for fifteen years until 1955 when he was finally employed by the Ministry of Culture. In 1962 he received the State Encouragement Prize for Literature.