Egyptian writer Mohammed Bisatti
Cairo – Mohammed Al Shinawi
Egyptian novelist Mohammed Bisatti passed away on Sunday after months in a coma, which he slipped into while receiving treatment for a disease liver at a hospital in Cairo.
Bisatti leaves behind a legacy of popular literary works, which mostly focus on issues faced by poor and modest people. In recent times, Bisatti made headlines after rejecting a literary award paying homage to his work, saying that he would refuse any prize or help by the former regime of President Hosni Mubarak, after the revolution last January.
Mohammed Ibrahim Bisatti has long been considered a prominent writer of the sixties generation, an era which witnessed a significant cultural and literary progress. The sixties generation included other great writers such as Sanaa Allah Ibrahim , Ibrahim Aslan , Gamal Ghitani, Yossef Kaaed and Edward Kharrat, as well as many others.
Bisatti was born in 1937 in the town of al-Gamelieya where he grew up in rural surroundings. It was here that he saw first hand how ordinary people were marginalised, a theme which he often wrote about in his books. Hi book “Sakhab el Bohira” (Bustle of the Lake) has emerged as one of the most beautiful novels of contemporary Arabic literature, in which he gives an insight into his own younger years, during the death of his father, who was a school teacher in the town.
When the novelist finished high school he moved to Cairo to finish his college education and obtained a Bachelor in Commerce in 1960. But his passion for literature dominated his academic studies. Two years later, he won the "Story Award" from the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser. It was after this turning point, that he began his journey through the world of narrative fiction.
The storyteller - as he was called by critics – got inspiration for characters in his novels from ordinary people he would meet in Egypt. He was one of the most prolific writers of his generation, especially in the last twenty years of his life, but was not as famous as his peers because he often shied away from the spotlight.
Like a skillful storyteller, he sought inspiration from storytelling nights he spent in his home village, hearing old stories told by the elderly of the village. "Echoes of the Night" was weaved from tales of old village women lost their husbands in the war.