Award-winning Egyptian novelist Gamal El-Ghitani passed away Sunday morning after being in a coma since August, reported MBC Masr.
According to Ahram Online, the acclaimed novelist was admitted to El-Gaala Military Hospital after suffering from breathing problems in mid-August, where he ultimately slipped into a coma. Since being in an induced coma, the novelist’s condition got worse with no signs of improvement. He died at the age of 70.
El-Ghitani left his stamp on the world through his literary works on both a national and international scale.
One of his most famous works, Waqa’i Harat El Zaafarani (The Zaafarani Files), written in 1976, is a fictional story that revolves around the people of Zaafarani Alley – an alley suffering from a mysterious illness. The Zaafarani Files is a social critique of Egypt’s social and political stance – presented in a dark and humorous manner. The novel was nominated for the Best Translated Book Award in 2010.
.بعينين فيهما قحة قال انه لن ينام الساعة الثامنة ولن يخضع لخرافات , لن يخضع؟ المعنى خطير , لا يريد التزام الصراط المستقيم حتى زوال الغمة
“With sleepy eyes, he said he will not surrender to superstition. Will not surrender? This is dangerous. He doesn’t want to commit to the righteous path until the demise of sorrow.”
-Extract from The Zaafarani Files
El-Ghitani won several awards throughout his literary career. In 1980, he was awarded the Egyptian National Prize for Literature. He also won the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1987, and in 2015 he won the Nile Prize – the highest literary honour granted by the Egyptian state.
In 1993, El-Ghitani founded Akhbar El-Adab (Literature News), one of the most prestigious Egyptian literature magazines, and acted as Editor-in-Chief until 2011.