Nobel Prize winning author Naguib Mahfouz dies


Naguib Mahfouz, winner of the 1988 Nobel prize for literature and best known for his Cairo Trilogy, died on Wednesday in Egypt after suffering from a bleeding ulcer, doctors at an interior ministry hospital said.

The 94-year-old Mahfouz, who was the only writer in Arabic to win the prize, had been hospitalised since July 19 after he fell in the street and sustained a deep head wound that required surgery.

"He came to this world only to write," Egyptian writer Youssef al-Quaid told Egyptian television.

"He was the most famous writer in Egypt ... He had an incredible ability to create and create all his life."

Mahfouz became a literary force when he moved beyond traditional novels to realistic descriptions of Egypt's 20th century experience with colonialism and autocracy.

Declared an infidel by Muslim militants because of his portrayal of God in one of his novels, Mahfouz survived a knife attack by Muslim militants in 1994 that damaged a nerve and seriously impaired his ability to use his writing hand.

Mahfouz's family declined treatment in the United States for his latest illness, Egyptian television reported.

Born in 1911 on December 11 in Cairo, the son of a merchant, Mahfouz was the youngest son in a family of four sisters and two brothers.

He obtained his philosophy degree from Cairo University at the age of 23, at a time when many Egyptians had only a primary education.

He worked in the government's cultural section until retiring in 1971.