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Arab Nobel Literature Laureate Dies

Naguib Mahfouz (file photo) (epa) August 30, 2006 -- Naguib Mahfouz, the only Arab writer to win the Nobel Prize for literature, died today in a Cairo hospital. He was 94.

Mahfouz's novels depicted Egyptian life in his beloved corner of ancient Cairo.

The Nobel Prize awarded in 1988 brought to notice a man who had already established himself as one of the Middle East's most beloved writers and a strong voice for moderation and religious tolerance.

But fame had its perils. In 1994, an attacker inspired by a militant cleric's ruling that a Mahfouz novel written decades before was blasphemous stabbed the then-82-year-old Mahfouz as he left his Cairo home.

Mahfouz survived, but the attack damaged nerves leading to his right arm, seriously impairing his physical ability to write.

(compiled from agency reports)