“Danger has been a part of my life ever since I picked up a pen and wrote. Nothing is more perilous than truth in a world that lies.” – Nawal El Saadawi
Why We Love Her: El Saadawi is an Egyptian feminist writer, activist, doctor and psychiatrist. Her groundbreaking book published in 1972 called Women and Sex, is a seminal text of second-wave feminism. It contextualised and critiqued female circumcision and violence against women’s bodies in Africa. Its controversial nature damaged her medical career and the book itself was banned in Egypt for 20 years. But she has continued to use literature to campaign ceaselessly for the rights of women, despite threats of exile and death, even forming a journal, Confrontation, which led to her being arrested. Defiant, El Saadawi continued to write and bring her fellow prisoners’ plights to life while imprisoned.
“I have triumphed over both life and death because I no longer desire to live, nor do I any longer fear to die.”
― Nawal El-Saadawi,
She is a prolific fiction writer with an assortment of published plays, poetry, novels and short stories for readers to enjoy. Some of her best work includes Woman At Point Zero, about a murderess recounting her life story just before her execution, The Circling Song, about troubled twins separated at birth and God Dies By The Nile, where a village struggles with religion and corruption. Nawal El Saadawi’s talent and radical bravery to this day is an inspiration to people everywhere.
“Something I tried to hold onto, to touch if only for a moment, but it slipped away from me like the air, like an illusion, or a dream that floats away and is lost. I wept in my sleep as though it was something I was losing now; a loss I was experiencing for the first time, and not something I had lost a long time ago.” – Nawal El Saadawi, Women At Point Zero