Egyptian author, women’s rights icon El Saadawi dies

World-renowned Egyptian author Nawal El Saadawi, an outspoken champion of women’s rights in the Arab world, has died at the age of 89, her family said.

El Saadawi passed away in a Cairo hospital after suffering a long illness, her daughter, Mona Helmy, said on Sunday. The prolific writer was a leading feminist who revolutionised discussions on gender in deeply conservative societies.

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Born in the village of Kafir Tahla in 1931, El Saadawi rose to prominence in 1972 with her taboo-breaking book, Women and Sex, but she shot to fame with her widely translated novel Women at Point Zero in 1975.

With more than 55 books to her name, she was briefly jailed by late President Anwar Sadat and also condemned by Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni Muslim authority in Egypt.

“I write in Arabic. All my books are in Arabic and then they are translated. My role is to change my people,” El Saadawi, who faced many death threats throughout her life, said.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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