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2015.. The year of sorrow for Egypt's cultural community
Published in Albawaba on 29 - 12 - 2015

It was a year of sorrow for the cultural communities in Egypt and the other Arab countries. A large number of intellectuals passed away during this year leaving rich heritage in the Arab library.
1- Edwar Al Kharrat
He was an Egyptian novelist, writer and critic. He was born in Alexandria to a Coptic Christian family. He studied law at Alexandria University and worked briefly in banking and insurance. He was also actively engaged in left-wing politics and spent two years in jail from 1948–50. He moved to Cairo in the mid-1950s where he worked for a time as a translator at the Romanian embassy.
Al-Kharrat has been described as "one of Egypt's most influential fiction writers and "one of the most important writers in the Arab world". He was a leading figure among the group of Egyptian writers known as the Sixties Generation, and founded and edited the literary journal Gallery 68, considered to be the mouthpiece of that generation. In this role, al-Kharrat promoted and disseminated the works of such writers as Sonallah Ibrahim, Bahaa Taher, Ibrahim Aslan, Yahya Taher Abdullah, and Gamal al-Ghitani. He also had a lengthy association with the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organisation (AAPSO) and the Afro-Asian Writers' Association, and edited Lotus, a journal of African and Arabic literature.
Al-Kharrat has also translated a number of foreign literary works into Arabic, including Tolstoy's War and Peace. He has won several prestigious literary awards including the Sultan al-Owais Prize and the Naguib Mahfouz Medal. He was invited to St Antony's College, Oxford in 1979 as a visiting scholar and has participated in numerous cultural festivals, including the London Literature Festival in 1999. He died on 1 December 2015, aged 89.
2- Gamal el-Ghitani
He was Egyptian novelist and journalist inspired by the Egyptian heritage. He performed a major role to revive the ancient literature. He took the same steps of his master Nagib Mahfouz in dealing with the Egyptian novel.
Ghitani is one of the most famous writers in the Arab world, as he allowed his works on the Internet. He was imprisoned in 1966 for political reasons and released in 1967. He was awarded in Egypt and abroad many times for a large number of his novels.
3- Ali Salem
was an Egyptian playwright, author, and political commentator known for controversially endorsing cooperation with Israel.The Los Angeles Times once described him as "a big, loud man known for his satiric wit".
From the premiere of his first play in 1965, he wrote 25 plays and fifteen books. One of the best known, The School of Troublemakers, debuted in 1971 and featured a rowdy class of children transformed by a kind teacher. His plays The Phantom of Heliopolis, The Comedy of Oedipus, The Man Who Fooled the Angels, and The Buffet have also become "classics of the Egyptian theater". Salem's plays often include allegorical critiques of Egyptian politics with a strong vein of humor and satire.
In 2008, he won the Train Foundation's $50,000 Civil Courage Prize in recognition of his opposition to radical Islam and his support of cooperation with Israel. He also received an honorary doctorate from Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in 2005. He died on 22 September 2015 after a long illness.
4- Abdel Rahman Al Abnoudi
He was a popular Egyptian poet, and more recently a children's books writer. He was one of a generation of poets who wrote their work in the Egyptian dialect rather than in Classical Arabic, the standard literary language.
This literary stance was associated with a militant political engagement: Abnudi and other writers of this school sought to make their literary production part of the process of development and movement towards popular democracy in Egypt.
He was formerly the husband of documentary and short film director Attiyat El Abnoudy. He later married Nehal Kamal.
5- Khalil Kalfat
He was one of the major critics who enriched the Egyptian literature life. He left also a large number of writings in economy, philosophy and translation.
He published a large number of articles studies that discussed many issued in the Egyptian life.
6- Soliman Fayad
He was known as the "wise man", as he attempted to provide the true image of Islam. He enriched the Arab library of a large number of novels. He died in February 2015 at 86.

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