Ali Ahmad Bakathir was born in Indonesia in December, 21st, 1910 for Arab parents originally from Hadramaut (Yemen).  When he was 10 years old, his father traveled with him to Hadramaut to live with his half brothers and sisters in the city of Sayoun. He studied Islamic theology and Arabic language in Sayoun and started composing poetry at the age of 13. When his father died in February 3rd, 1915, Bakathir (aged 15 years then) wrote an elegy poem of more than 70 lines. After studying at "Al-Nahdha school" in Sayoun, Bakathir worked in teaching and became the principal of the same school in 1926. During his stay in Sayoun, Bakathir was involved in the literature live and participated in publishing "al-Tahthib" magazine. After the death of his beloved wife, Bakathir left Hadramaut in 1932 to Aden. After staying in Aden for few months he left to Somalia, Ethiopia, and then stayed in Hijaz (Saudi Arabia), where he wrote his first poetic social play. Bakathir left Saudi Arabia in 1934 to Egypt and settled there to study English literature at Fuad the first University (now Cairo University). In 1936 while he during his study, Bakathir translated Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" into Arabic in the form of "free verses" and 2 years later he wrote the first poetic play in Arabic in the form of free verses "Ikhnatoon wa Nefirtiti". After graduating from university Bakathir worked as an English teacher for 14 years, seven of them at al-Rashad secondary school in Mansura, then moved to Cairo. Bakatheir then was transferred to the ministry of Al-Thaqafa wa Al-Irshad Al-Qumi where he worked until he dies in November, 10th, 1969. Bakathir got married to an Egyptian lady in 1943 and got the Egyptian citizenship in August 22nd, 1952.
Bakathir wrote 6 novels most famous of them are "Wa Islamah" (Oh My Islam) and "Al-Thaier Al-Ahmar" (The Red Revolutionist). He also wrote more than 60 plays 8 of them were poetic plays. One of his famous plays is "Malhamat Omar" (Epic of Omar) in 19 acts which is considered the second longest drama after the English playwright Thomas Hardy's huge poetic drama "The Dynasts".

Bakathir was awarded many medals, including the State Prize of Egypt for his play "Harot and Marot," as well as the Medal of Science and Art from the late Egyptian president Jamal Abdulnasir in 1963.

Bakathir died in Cairo in November, 10th, 1969 and buried in the cemetery of his Egyptian wife's family.