17th Karlsruhe Dialogues – Speakers

The ‘In-Between Society’: Tradition and Modernism in Conflict

Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Nawal El Saadawi


El Saadawi

Dr. Nawal El Saadawi is a world-renowned writer. She studied at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. She is a novelist, a psychiatrist, and author of more than forty books fiction and non-fiction. In 1972, she lost her job in the Egyptian Ministry of Health because of her book Al-Mar’a wa Al-Jins (‘Woman and Sex’). She was banned by the political and religious authorities because in some chapters of the book, she wrote against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and linked sexual problems to political and economic oppression. In 1973, the Magazine as-Sihha (‘Health’), which she founded and had edited for more than three years, was closed down. She was put in prison by President Sadat in 1981 and was released two months after his assassination. From 1988 to 1993, her name figured on death lists issued by fanatical religious political organisations.

During the summer of 2001, three of her books were banned at Cairo International Book Fair. She was accused of apostasy by a fundamentalist lawyer who raised a court case to have her forcibly divorced from her husband.

Her works have been translated into more than forty languages all over the world, and some of them are taught in a number of universities in different countries.

Despite her age, El Saadawi took part in the revolution in Tahrir Square in Cairo and demonstrated against the Mubarak regime in 2011.