NOTE: This article is a republication- Source: The Guardian (by Ella Creamer).
Syrian author, poet and screenwriter Khaled Khalifa, whose novels set in Aleppo memorialised a city ruined by civil war, has died aged 59.
The writer died from cardiac arrest at his home in Damascus, a close friend told the French news agency AFP.
Khalifa was one of Syria’s most celebrated contemporary novelists, though his six novels were banned in the country. “A poet of a single city, and through it a nation, his commitment to his homeland, to interrogating its history and inviting his readers to feel that history, was remarkable,” said Alex Bowler, publisher at Faber, the UK publisher of Khalifa’s work.
“This was coupled with his steadfast commitment to the freedoms and power of literature, despite the censorship and suppression he encountered,” he added. “Because of this he leaves a body of work that will last. But it cannot diminish today from the pure sadness we feel at his sudden passing.”
“What a loss for Arab literature,” Layla AlAmmar, author of Silence Is a Sense and The Pact We Made, posted on Twitter. “Khaled Khalifa was a giant and had so much more left to give.”
“He leaves books that will be read so long as there are Syrians,” added Robin Yassin-Kassab, author of The Road from Damascus.
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