Another Farewell: Authors Who Died in 2018

Remembering a few of the acclaimed Arab authors who left us in 2018:

January: Sabri Moussa (1932-2018)

Prominent Egyptian novelist and scenarist Sabri Moussa — whose Seeds of Corruption was on the Arab Writers Union’s list of the “top 105 novels” of the twentieth century — was born in Damietta, Egypt in 1932 and studied painting. After graduation, he worked as a teacher for two years before he left to work as a journalist.


March: Emily Nasrallah (1931-2018)

The quiet, firm Lebanese feminist author and activist Emily Nasrallah (1931-2018) — celebrated for her debut novel Birds of September —  was born in the summer of 1931 and grew up in Al Kfeir, a village in southern Lebanon, before moving to Beirut to study and work as a journalist and teacher. Her debut novel, Birds of September, came out in 1962 and was later listed as one of the Arab Writers Union’s 105 best books of the twentieth century.

Also: Remembering Emily Nasrallah (1931-2018): In Her Words and In Photos: Memoir and Foundation Remembering Emily Nasrallah (1931-2018)


April: Ahmed Khaled Tawfik (1962-2018)

Egyptian prominent author Ahmed Khaled Towfik was author of more than 200 novels, including Utopia, tr. Chip Rossetti. The popular and prolific author, who died in the northern city of Gharbia, was just 55. 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 #Rabaa and was not afraid of expressing this in public.”

Also: In Memoriam: Ahmed Khalid Tawfik, the Man and the Mission


May: Jamal Naji (1954-2018)

Palestinian-Jordanian novelist and short-story writer Jamal Naji was a prolific author, winning a number of awards for his lyrical prose about Palestine, about social mobility, and about the hierarchies in Jordanian society.


July: Hazem Azmy (1967-2018)

The scholar of Egyptian and comparative theatre Hazem Azmy passed away unexpectedly in July in Belgrade, at the International Federation for Theatre Research conference.


September: Ismail Fahd Ismail (1940-2018)

Ismail was one of the foundational figures in the development of the twentieth-century Kuwaiti novel, sometimes called “the father of the Kuwaiti novel,” he also continued to innovate and to speak out against censorship up until his death.

Also: A Final Interview with Ismail Fahd Ismail: ‘Nostalgia Breeds Transparency’