Egyptian writer and novelist Edwar El-Kharrat is in critical condition after he slipped into a coma at a Cairo hospital, according to his son Ehab El-Kharrat.
El-Kharrat, considered one of the most influential Egyptian writers of the 20th century, was admitted into the Anglo Hospital in Cairo on 20 Nov after being struck with pneumonia. El-Kharrat condition had briefly improved before deteriorating again, prompting his transfer to the hospital's intensive care unit, his son told Ahram Online in a text message, adding that his father is not responding to antibiotics.
El-Kharrat, 89, was born in Alexandria on 16 March 1926 to a Coptic family. He graduated from the University of Alexandria with a law degree in 1946, and was one of the figures who participated in the revolutionary national movement in 1946 against the British occupation. El-Kharrat moved to Cairo in the mid 1950's to work as a translator in the Romanian embassy before starting his literary career.
El-Kharrat is considered one of the founders of the modern Arabic novel and short story as well as an influential renovator of Arabic literature. He is also a prominent critic and translator.
He published over 50 books including novels and poetry, and is best known for his novel Rama wal Tinin (Rama and the Dragon), and his short story collection Hitan Aliya (High Walls).
El-Kharrat was awarded the Nile Prize for Literature in 2014, the highest honour bestowed by the Egyptian state in the field of literature. He was also granted the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature by the American University in Cairo in 1999.