Egypts most famous contemporary writer and the only Arab to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, Naguib Mahfouz passed away yesterday aged 94. Mahfouz wrote 50 novels the most famous of which are the exceptionally brilliant piece of work, The Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk (1956) Palace of Desire (1957) and Sugar Street (1957) which brought Mahfouz global recognition and Children of Gebelawi (1959) an important work that challenged religious dogma. The book was banned in Egypt for blasphemy and led to an assassination attempt on Mahfouz’s life by Islamic fundamentalists.
Reading Mahfouz is like reading the underbelly of Cario life especially in the early part of the 20C. He takes you through the streets, the cafes, the world of male privilege and the oppression of women.