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Nawal El Saadawi. Image from Moroccan Ladies.

The Egyptian writer and feminist icon Nawal El Sadaawi is ill. To foot her medical bills, a GoFundMe appeal was set up on February 13 to raise $20,000. So far, 76 people have responded with donations amounting to $4,780.

The author, in Arabic and in English, of sixteen novels, fifteen nonfiction books, nine short story collections, six memoirs, and three plays, the 87-year-old Nawal El Saadawi has long been persecuted by successive Egyptian governments for her advocacy for feminism and against genital mutilation, religious fundamentalism, and Islamic veiling. Perhaps best known for her novel Woman at Point Zero (first published in Arabic in 1973 and in English in 1982), El Saadawi was the subject of a 2017 BBC One series feature She Spoke the Unspeakable.

Here is the appeal.

Nawal El Saadawi, the first woman  Egyptian physician, feminist writer, activist, and psychiatrist has committed her life to the liberation of women and speaking truth to power through her writings on the subject of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital mutilation in her society. She has suffered imprisonment and censorship for the cause of the freedom of others, and has been described as “the Simone de Beauvoir of the Arab World”.

Now in her late 80s, she is ill, facing expensive surgery and post-hospital care bills beyond her means. She and her family continue to be watched and constrained by the state, limiting their earning power.  As she lies in hospital, let’s show her how much we care and appreciate her decades of self-sacrifice and courage.

The appeal was created by Bridgewater State University academic Diana Fox. The medical condition, reports James Murua’s Literature Blog, is as a result of “complications with eye surgery.”

Make a donation HERE

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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