Andrée Chedid (أندرية شديد) was born in Cairo in 1921. She was educated in French schools and at the American University in Cairo from which she graduated in 1942. Following her marriage, she lived in Lebanon from 1942 to 1946. Afterwards she went to Paris where she lived ever since, returning periodically to the Middle East. In 1988 she received an honorary doctorate from the American University in Cairo.
Following an interview in Cairo with Elizabeth Rodenbeck the latter wrote, 'Her cross-cultural links and influences have sharpened and enriched her sensibilities ... and made her more open to a breadth of human understanding, able to sympathize with people, particularly women, caught up in traumatic situations as varied as the Lebanese civil war, an earthquake in Algeria, or the pain and loneliness of a loveless marriage.'
Her 1960 novel, Le Sixieme Jour, set in the 1947 cholera epidemic in Egypt, made into the award-winning film, Al-Yaum al Sadis by Yusuf Shaheen, was shown at the Cairo Film Festival in 1987. She has published nineteen poetry anthologies which include: Textes Pour une Figure, 1949; Terre et Poesie, 1956; Terre Regardee, 1957; Seul, le Visage, 1960; Lubies, 1962; Double Pays, 1965; Fraternite de la Parole, 1972; and Ceremonial de La Violence, 1976; Her seven novels include: Heart on Holiday, Cairo 1943; Le Sommeil Delivre, 1957 (From Sleep Unbound, 1978); and La Maison sans Racines, 1985 on the Lebanese war.
In addition to five plays, she has also published two collections of short stories entitled L'Etroite Peau, 1965, Le Corps et le Temps, 1978. She has gained numerous literary prizes in 1972, she was awarded the Aigle d'Or for poetry; in 1975, the Royal Belgian Academy's Grand Prix for French literature; in 1976, both the Louis Lapier and the Mallarme Awards for poetry.
'House of Arrest' was published in L'Etroite Peau. It tells a story very similar to that of Le Sommeil Delivre. A wife is driven to distruction by her oppressive husband and she determines to kill him. Whereas the protagonist of Le Sommeil Delivre succeeds, this protagonist does not. Her husband has control of her inner most thoughts. She cannot liberate herself from him in any way.
(From Opening the Gates)