Monday,19 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1407, (30 August - 5 September 2018)
Monday,19 November, 2018
Issue 1407, (30 August - 5 September 2018)

Ahram Weekly

People’s bard

Obituary: Hanna Mina (1924-2018)

 

Mina
Mina
Al-Ahram Weekly

Celebrated Syrian novelist Hanna Mina died early last week following a long struggle with illness at the age of 94. His funeral took place in Damascus on 24 August. Mina, who was the late Naguib Mahfouz’s nominee for the Nobel Prize, is widely celebrated as Syria’s greatest novelist and one of the modern Arab world’s literary pillars.

Born in Latakia, Mina spent his childhood between the city and (the now Turkish) Iskenderun, which he was forced to leave with his family when Hatay State was established. A loyal son of the working class, he was quick to embrace Marxism, and his works, which developed from social realism in a more nuanced and analytical take on the plight of the poor, reflected his experience working as a barber and a stevedore.

Mina published 40 novels, starting with Al-Masabih Al-Zarqaa (The Blue Lanterns, 1954), which was made into an eponymous television series, and including such enduring favourites as Al-Shams fi Yawm Ghaim (Sun on a Cloudy Day, 1973, published in English in 1997 and made into an eponymous film in 1985) and Al-Shiraa wal Asifa (The Sail and the Storm, 2006, also made into a film in 2011).

Mina is known as a politically committed writer who, despite being claimed by the Syrian regime, always spoke out against corruption and tyranny.

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