Nawal El Saadawi

Nawal El Saadawi is in a critical state after complications with simple eye surgery and needs our help.

Nawal El Saadawi is one of the most prolific writers to ever walk on the planet. The Egyptian writer who writes in Arabic has dozens of novels, short story collections, plays, and memoirs. The most famous of her novels in the English speaking world is Woman at Point Zero which was published in 1975 and translated in 1980. The novel is based on Saadawi’s encounter with a female prisoner in Qanatir Prison and is the first-person account of Firdaus, a murderess who has agreed to tell her life story before her execution. It explores the issues of the subjugation of women, female circumcision, and women’s freedom in a patriarchal society.

Saadawi has committed her life to the liberation of women and speaking truth to power through her writings on the subject of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital mutilation in her society. She has suffered imprisonment and censorship in the name of freedom.

Now in her late 80s, the matriarch of Egyptian writing is ill and has had to face expensive surgery and post-hospital care bills beyond her means. It has emerged that Saadawi is in a critical state after complications with simple eye surgery. The saddest part of this story is that she and her family continue to be watched and constrained by the state, limiting their earning power.

As she lies in hospital, let’s show her how much we care and appreciate her decades of self-sacrifice and courage. Let’s support the GoFundMe appeal that was made for her medical care by Bridgewater State University’s Diana Fox. It’s the least we can do for what she has been doing for us as readers and those who have heeded her call against many oppressions.

Update: Nawal has since passed away. May she R.I.P.