SFF and Horror Novelist Ahmed Khaled Tawfik, ‘Pop Culture Godfather,’ Dies at 55

Egyptian prominent author Ahmed Khaled Towfik (1962-2018) — author of more than 200 novels, including Utopia, tr. Chip Rossetti — died Monday:

The popular and prolific author, who died in the northern city of Gharbia, was just 55. According to the BBC, the author suffered a sudden health crisis.

Commonly called “the Godfather,” the popular blogger Zeinobia called Towfik the “Pop Culture godfather of a whole generation of Egyptians,” adding on Twitter that he was one of the few “intellectual figures and public figures in Egypt that believed we should mourn the Egyptians who died in and was not afraid of expressing this in public.”

Towfik’s books were particularly concerned with widening class divides, as evidenced in Utopia and other near-future dystopias. In an interview with BBC, Towfik had said his work became more pessimistic after January 25, 2011.

Zeinobia remembered him in a thread:

Towfik’s engaging novel Utopiatr. Chip Rossetti, was a finalist for the 2012 Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards. Utopia, set in a dystopian Egypt of 2023, in many ways feels in many ways quite similar to (an exaggerated version) of Egypt 2010: The wealthy live in a secured compound on the Mediterranean while the poor live down in Cairo in polluted, broken-down, hardscrabble conditions.

Towfik also translated English-language science fiction into Arabic, including works by Ray Bradbury, Arthur Clarke, Isaac Asimov.

More: Towfik’s Goodreads page and blog.

Jackets from a few of his books:


  1. This is a shock. Ahmed Khaled Towfik was one of the warmest, most charming, most modest men I’ve ever met. I had the pleasure of accompanying him on his trip to London, where one of the sights he wanted to see was the Abbey Road studios. Somewhere in his collection are photos I took of him recreating the famous zebra crossing album cover. Since that time in 2011 he frequently sent me email greetings on both Christian and Muslim holidays, always decorated with lively emojis. I doubt there was any true horror in dear Ahmed’s soul.

    1. I think if Ahmed felt any horror, it was on behalf of the fates of others & especially his beloved fellow countrymen/women. <3

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