Nawal El Saadawi  

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"Then suddenly the sharp metallic edge seemed to drop between my thighs and there cut off a piece of flesh from my body."--The Hidden Face of Eve (1977) by Nawal El Saadawi

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Nawal El Saadawi (27 October 1931 – 21 March 2021) was an Egyptian feminist writer, activist, physician, and psychiatrist. She wrote many books on the subject of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital mutilation in her society. She was described as "the Simone de Beauvoir of the Arab World", and as “Egypt’s most radical woman”.

Selected works

Saadawi has written prolifically, placing some of her works online. Her books include:

  • Memoirs of a Woman Doctor (1960, 1980; translated by Catherine Cobham, 1989)
  • Searching (1968; translated by Shirley Eber, 1991)
  • The Death of the Only Man in the World (1974; translated by Sherif Hetata, 1985) Published in English as God Dies by the Nile
  • Woman at Point Zero (1975; translated by Sherif Hetata, 1983)
  • The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World (1977; translated by Sherif Hetata, 1980)
  • The Circling Song (1978; translated by Marilyn Booth, 1989)
  • Death of an Ex-Minister (1980; translated by Shirley Eber, 1987)
  • She Has No Place in Paradise (1979; translated by Shirley Eber)
  • Two Women in One (1983; translated by Osman Nusairi and Jana Gough, 1985)
  • The Fall of the Imam (1987; translated by Sherif Hetata, 1988)
  • Memoirs from the Women's Prison (1984; translated by Marilyn Booth, 1994)
  • The Innocence of the Devil (1994; translated by Sherif Hetata, 1994)
  • North/South: The Nawal El Saadawi Reader (1997)
  • Love in the Kingdom of Oil, translated by Basil Hatim and Malcolm Williams (Saqi Books, 2000)
  • The Novel (2004; translated by Omnia Amin and Rick London, 2009)
  • A Daughter of Isis
  • Dissidenza e scrittura (2008)
  • L'amore ai tempi del petrolio, translated by Marika Macco, introduction by Luisa Morgantini, Fagnano Alto: Editrice il Sirente, 2009.
  • "Off Limits: New Writings on Fear and Sin" Gingko Library 2019

Publication history

The following is a complete list of her books.

Novels (in Arabic)

  • Memoirs of a Woman Doctor (Cairo, 1958)
  • The Absent One (Cairo, 1969)
  • Two Women in One (Cairo, 1971)
  • Woman at Point Zero (Beirut, 1973)
  • The Death of the Only Man on Earth (Beirut, 1975)
  • The Children’s Circling Song (Beirut, 1976)
  • The Fall of the Imam (Cairo, 1987)
  • Ganat and the Devil (Beirut, 1991)
  • Love in the Kingdom of Oil (Cairo, 1993)
  • The Novel (Cairo: Dar El Hilal Publishers, 2004)
  • Zeina, Novel (Beirut: Dar Al Saqi, 2009)

Short-story collections (in Arabic)

  • I Learnt Love (Cairo, 1957)
  • A Moment of Truth (Cairo, 1959)
  • Little Tenderness (Cairo, 1960)
  • The Thread and the Wall (Cairo, 1972)
  • Ain El Hayat (Beirut, 1976)
  • She was the Weaker (Beirut, 1977)
  • Death of an Ex-minister (Beirut, 1978)
  • Adab Am Kellet Abad (Cairo, 2000)

Plays (in Arabic)

  • Twelve Women in a Cell (Cairo, 1984)
  • Isis (Cairo, 1985)
  • God Resigns in the Summit Meeting (1996), published by Madbouli, and four other plays included in her Collected Works (45 books in Arabic), Cairo: Madbouli, 2007

Memoirs (in Arabic)

  • Memoirs in a Women’s Prison (Cairo, 1983)
  • My Travels Around the World (Cairo, 1986)
  • Memoirs of a Child Called Soad (Cairo, 1990)
  • My Life, Part I, Autobiography (Cairo, 1996)
  • My Life, Part II, Autobiography (Cairo, 1998)
  • My Life, Part III, (Cairo, 2001)

Non-fiction (in Arabic)

  • Women and Sex (Cairo, 1969)
  • Woman is the Origin (Cairo, 1971)
  • Men and Sex (Cairo, 1973)
  • The Naked Face of Arab Women (Cairo, 1974)
  • Women and Neurosis (Cairo, 1975)
  • On Women (Cairo, 1986)
  • A New Battle in Arab Women Liberation (Cairo, 1992)
  • Collection of Essays (Cairo, 1998)
  • Collection of Essays (Cairo, 2001)
  • Breaking Down Barriers (Cairo, 2004)

Novels translated into English

  • Woman at Point Zero (London: Zed Books, 1982), reissued 2008
  • God Dies by the Nile (London: Zed Books, 1984), reissued 2008
  • Circling Song (London: Zed Books, 1986), reissued 2008
  • The Fall of Imam (London: Methuen, 1987), London: Saqi Books 2001, 2009
  • Searching (London: Zed Books, 1988), reissued 2008
  • Two Women in One (London: Al-Saqi Books, 1992)
  • Memoirs of a Women Doctor (London: Methuen, 1994) (also: City Lights, USA, 1993)
  • The Well of Life, two novels (London: Methuen, 1994)
  • The Innocence of the Devil (London: Methuen, 1994) (also: University of California Press, 1995)
  • Love in the Kingdom of Oil (London: Saqi Books, 2001)
  • The Novel (Northampton, Mass: Interlink Books, 2009)
  • Zeina (London: Saqi Books, 2011)

Short stories translated into English

  • Death of an Ex-minister (London: Methuen, 1987)
  • She Has No Place in Paradise (London: Methuen, 1987)

Non-fiction translated into English

  • The Hidden Face of Eve (London: Zed Books, 1980), reissued 2008
  • My Travels Around the World (London: Methuen, 1985)
  • Memoirs from the Women’s Prison (London: Women’s Press, 1985) (also: University of California Press, USA, 1995)
  • Nawal El Saadawi Reader, essays (London: Zed Books, 1997)
  • Vol 11 Nawal El Saadawi Reader (Zed Books 2009)
  • Part I A Daughter of Isis, autobiography (London: Zed Books, 1999), reissued 2008
  • Part II Walking Through Fire, autobiography (London: Zed Books, 2002), reissued 2008


See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nawal El Saadawi" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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