Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.

–Boris Pasternak

Abdel Rahman Munif is considered as one of the two patriarchs of Arab literature along with Naguib Mahfouz. Born on May 29, 1933, Munif was a Saudi novelist. His novels are a vicious critique of the lifestyle of Middle Eastern elites. For his political beliefs he was deprived of his Saudi citizenship. Many of his novels are still banned in Saudi Arabia.

Munif always believed that writing is an effective tool for change. He presented a refined and courageous literary work when he challenged the political taboos and wrote bravely about the stripping off of human liberty and dignity in the Arab world.

His most famous work includes the controversial trilogy Cities of Salt, described by the late Arab-American writer Edward Said as “The only serious work of fiction that tries to show the effect of oil, Americans and the local oligarchy on a Gulf country.” His work has definitely left a distinctive mark on the Arabic literature in the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries.

When he died, January 24, 2004, Mr. Munif was working on a book on Iraq, where he had studied and later worked.