Egyptian writer and activist Nawal El Saadawi dies, aged 89

Feminist author, physician and psychiatrist was transferred to hospital after falling ill

The multi-talented Egyptian writer Nawal El Saadawi has died at the age of 89.

The renowned feminist author, activist, physician and psychiatrist had been transferred to hospital after complications arising from an illness, Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

El Saadawi was a prolific author, with dozens of titles to her name, and was referred to as the "Simone de Beauvoir of the Arab world".

She was said to have disliked the reference, saying, "I'm much more radical than her", Egypt Today reported.

Her books covered many feminist subjects and she was the subject of the film She Spoke the Unspeakable, broadcast in the BBC 1 TV series Imagine.

El Saadawi founded organisations including the Arab Women's Solidarity Association, the Arab Association for Human Rights, the Health Education Association and the Egyptian Women Writers' Association.

As a doctor, she held prestigious positions including director general of the Health Education Department for Cairo's Ministry of Health, and she edited Health Magazine and the Medical Association Magazine.

El Saadawi has received prizes and accolades including the Sean MacBride Peace Prize, and honorary degrees on three continents.

Fans were quick to mourn the loss on social media, with one user writing on Twitter: "Dr Nawal El Saadawi just passed away. At the time Middle Eastern women are facing so much on a daily basis."

Another user described it as a "big loss for Egyptian women".

Updated: March 22, 2021 07:24 AM

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