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RIP Mahfouz Naguib

Mahfouz Naguib, the only Arabic-language writer to win a Nobel Prize and Egypt’s most famous author, died this morning in Cairo at age 94. Best known for his Cairo Trilogy, he was a controversial figure who repeatedly rankled conservatives. His book Children of Gabalawi was banned by Islamic authories in 1959 for including characters who […]

mahfouz.gifMahfouz Naguib, the only Arabic-language writer to win a Nobel Prize and Egypt’s most famous author, died this morning in Cairo at age 94. Best known for his Cairo Trilogy, he was a controversial figure who repeatedly rankled conservatives. His book Children of Gabalawi was banned by Islamic authories in 1959 for including characters who represented God and the prophets, and in 1994, he was stabbed by a militant angered about such portrayals. Of the latter, he said, “They are trying to extinguish the light of reason and thought. Beware.

Writes Issandr El Amrani:

Naguib Mahfouz was an Egyptian archetype – a pragmatic, down-to-earth, somewhat fatalistic, stubborn man who liked to keep his head down and observe the world around him with humour and irony. “Life is wise to deceive us,” he once wrote, “for had it told us from the start what it had in store for us, we would refuse to be born.