Women’s Rights Writer Nawal El Saadawi Dies at 89

Nawal El Saadawi wrote more than 55 books over the course of her life.

World-renowned Egyptian Writer, foremost Women’s rights activist, and physician Nawal El Saadawi has died in the early hour of Sunday March 21, 2021 after a prolonged illness.

El Saadawi who faced several death threats for her writings authored over 55 books and had brief stints in prison under late President Anwar Sadat.

El Saadawi’s most read Novel WWoWWoman at Point Zero

El Saadawi who writes in Arabic has dozens of memoirs,novels, short story collections, and plays. The most famous of her novels “Woman at Point Zero” was published in 1975 and translated in 1980. The novel is based on Saadawi’s encounter with a female prisoner in Qanatir Prison and is the first-person account of Firdaus, a murderess who agreed to tell her life story before her execution.

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She once said: “Sadat put me in prison along with some other men. Under President Hosni Mubarak, I’ve been ‘greylisted’. Although there is no official order banning me, I can’t appear in the national media – it’s an unwritten rule. There is no chance for people like me to be heard by the people.”

El Saadawi at Tahrir Square during the anti-Mubarak protests in February 2011 Credit:Amel Pain

El Saadawi was writer-in-residence for three years at the Asian and African languages department at Duke University, USA.

She ran for the presidency in 2005 but abandoned her bid after accusing security forces of disrupting her campaigns.

El Saadawi participated in the 2011 mass uprising which ousted President Mubarak.

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She was awarded the Inana International Prize in Belgium in 2005, a year after she received the North-South prize from the Council of Europe.Time Magazine 2020 listed her on its 100 Women of the Year roll call.

Saadawi, who passed away at the age of 89, battled a health crisis which had her hospitalised. She’s survived by her children Atef Hatata and Mona Helmi.


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