Tunisian writer and philosopher Kamel Zoghbani (1965-2020) died on Monday, September 14, after a sudden heart attack. He was 55:
Writer and activist Kamel Zoghbani was a major figure on the Tunisian literary scene post-2011. He was particularly known for his novel Waiting for Life ( في انتظار الحياة , 2010), which won the prestigious Comar Prize, and his Machine of Happiness (ماكينة السعادة, 2016), which earned him the Béchir Khraief Prize for the Novel at the 2017 Tunis International Book Fair.
According to Kamel Riahi, Zoghbani heralded a new sort of Tunisian novel that “resolved the difficult equation between mass success and artistic quality,” which critic Jalloul Azzouna wrote that, “During ten years, I have read tens of novels. But two novels remained such peculiarities for me which are Kamel Zoghbani’s Waiting for Life and Salem Labbene’s The Compass of Sidi Enna….”
Zoghbani, who worked as a professor of philosophy at the Tunisian University, also wrote academic works and philosophical essays.
According to Saudi24News, Al-Zoghbani believed that “the creative act is a revolution and resistance in itself,” and he refused positions of authority, saying, “I can never be a minister of culture because I can never tolerate positions nor like chairs.”
He was mourned online by his readers and by his publisher, Dar al-Tanweer:
بكل الأسى علمت دار التنوير بوفاة الروائي التونسي كمال الزغباني ..غادرنا كمال وقد بدأ القول…وخط ملامح خاصة بكتابة الرواية ..
دار التنوير تقف خاشعة أمام هذه الفاجعة المفاجئة وتعزي نفسها والعائلة وكل الأصدقاء وعشاق الإبداع الجريء. pic.twitter.com/eQOGHHpAaG
— دار التنوير (@Daraltanweer) September 15, 2020