Novelist Ibrahim Aslan dies at 77

Ahram Online, Sunday 8 Jan 2012

The writer of iconic movie KitKat died Saturday of heart problems

Ibrahim Aslan

Ibrahim Aslan, one of Egypt’s most famous writers and novelists, died at the age of 77 on Saturday.

Aslan suffered from a strong cold in the past few days that forced him to take medication that affected his weak heart. He had underwent heart surgery twice in the last 20 years.

Considered one of the most remarkable writers among the 60s generation, Aslan was best known for his novels Bohayrat Al-Massa (The Night’s Lake) and Malek Alhazaeen (Sad Malek), which was made into the famous movie KitKat, a jewel of Egyptian cinema in the 1990s.

Born in the Gharbiya governorate and raised in the Cairo neightbourhood of KitKat, which became central to most of his works. Aslan didn’t have a regular education, moving from school to school until he decided to learn carpetweaving, then moving to a technical school.

Al-Magala literature magazine played a major role in his beginnings in the 1960s. Having good ties with its chief editor, Yahia Haqy, helped him to publish some of his first writings.

His first collection of short stories was entitled Bohayrat AlMassa, published at the end of the 1960s with a state grant won with the help of Nobel Prize laureate Naguib Mahfouz.

Aslan didn’t write prolifically, but rather selectively. But what he lacked in quantity he made up for in quality. His first novel, Malek Alhazeen, was included in the best 100 novels list in Arabic literature.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Aslan joined Al-Hayat newspaper issued from London as head of the culture section. His star was ascending on both the popular and elite levels. Yet it was director Dawoud Abdel Sayyed who made him a household name when he decided to take Malek Alhazeen to the screen. KitKat, based on the novel, was released in 1991.

The success of the movie confirmed Aslan's reputation. Aslan had a weekly column in Al-Ahram daily newspaper, which many were eager to read on Tuesdays.


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