Early Life and Family
Haqqi was born on January 7, 1905 in the Cairo neighborhood of Zainab to a middle-class Turkish Muslim family. His ancestors had emigrated from Turkey to Greece, and one of the sons of that family, Ibrahim Haqqi (d. 1890), Yahya's grandfather, moved to Egypt in the early nineteenth century. Ibrahim Haqqi worked in Damietta for a period of time, and had three sons: Muhammad Ibrahim (Yahya's father), Mahmoud Taher, and Kamal. Muhammad Ibrahim's wife, Yahya's mother, was also of Turkish origin. Both of his parents enjoyed literature. Yahya Haqqi was the third son of six, and had two sisters. His oldest brother was Ibrahim, followed by Ishmael. His younger siblings, in birth order, were Zachariah, Musa, Fatima, Hamza, and Miriam. Hamza and Miriam both died when they were only months old.
He graduated from the Faculty of Law and practiced as a lawyer in Alexandria. In 1929 he joined the diplomatic corps and served in Jeddah, Rome, Paris, and Ankara. In 1952 he was appointed ambassador to Libya. In 1953 he was appointed Director of the Arts Department and then a Literary Advisor to the Egyptian Generd Book Organization in 1958. In 1959, he resigned his post and became editor of one of a Cairo-based magazine. In 1970, he was appointed Member of the Supreme Council for Radio and Television.
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