Born in a small Egyptian village in 1931, El Saadawi has shown an incredible ability to create new worlds in the fight against oppression. In the face of censorship, imprisonment and exile, she has refused to accept the oppressions imposed on women by gender and class.
El Saadawi’s remarkable life story starts with the childhood that produced the freedom fighter: from the trauma of female genital mutilation at seven years old to eluding the grasp of suitors at the age of ten.
Later, as a young adult qualifying as doctor, she moulded her own creative power into a weapon. A rural doctor and an activist for female empowerment, El Saadawi challenged the authorities that tried to obstruct her and was imprisoned and later exiled.
She is also a prolific writer of novels, memoirs, plays, non-fiction work, and short stories.
‘I think her life has been one long death threat. At a time when nobody else was talking, she spoke the unspeakable.’
Margaret Atwood, BBC Imagine