‘Master of the Antihero’ Egyptian Novelist and Publisher Mekkawi Said Dies at 61

Beloved and popular Egyptian novelist Mekkawi Said has died at 61. Social media was full of grieving friends and fans:

Image from Hoopoe Fiction.

Syrian novelist Khaled Khalifa echoed the sentiments of many when he wrote on Facebook: “Your leaving broke my heart, my friend.”

Said, who was both a novelist, publisher, and script-writer, was born in Cairo in July, 1956.

His first book was a collection of short stories, Running after Light, published in 1981. Since then, he has published several more collections and novels, including his bestselling Cairo Swan Song, which was shortlisted for the inaugural International Prize for Arabic Fiction and translated to English by Adam Talib. His most recent novel was To Be Loved by Jihan, which made the 2016-17 Sheikh Zayed Book Award longlist.

Said won a number of prizes, including the Egyptian State Prize for Literature, the Sawiris, and the Soad El-Sabbah Prize for Arabic fiction.

In the words of critic Ahmed Salah Eldein,”when in Cairo, you have to see the storytelling icon Mekkawi Said. He is a master of the antihero and has a pool of human secrets to reveal, all of which are Egyptian in flavor and human in essence.”

More reflections on Mekkawi Said to come.


Meet Mekkawi Said: The Cairene Fairy King of Antiheroes

In Banipal: My Father’s White Shawl,” a story translated by Leri Price