The Sharm El-Sheikh Arab and European Film Festival -- launching this March in the South Sinai resort city -- has announced it will honor Egyptian writer Nawal El-Saadawy for her prolific advocacy of human rights, and women’s rights in particular.
El-Saadawy is a well-known and established feminist novelist, as well as a psychiatrist and a pulmonologist, who practiced medicine at Cairo's Kasr El-Aini hospital.
She was born in Cairo in 1931, and graduated from Cairo University of Medicine in 1954.
El-Saadawy’s written works often center on women in Islam, and are known for breaking the taboo of discussing subjects like female genital mutilation.
She has written nearly 40 books, which have been translated into over 30 languages. Her best known works include A Doctor’s Diary -- her first novel -- and Women and Sex, her first work in non-fiction which provoked religious and political authorities, leading to her dismissal from the Ministry of Health, where she served as director of Health Education.
The author's outspoken works and beliefs have often gotten her into trouble with authorities. She was jailed during the tenure of President Anwar El-Sadat, spent time in exile, and faced numerous lawsuits accusing her of blasphemy and wrecking marriages.
El-Saadawy founded the Arab Women's Solidarity Association in 1989, the Health Education Association and the Egyptian Women Writers Association.
Her work has been recognised internationally, receiving the North-South Prize from the Council of Europe in 2004, the Inana International Prize in Belgium in 2005 and the Seán MacBride Peace Prize from the International Peace Bureau In 2012.
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