Nawal El Saadawi was born in 1931, in a small village outside Cairo. Unusually, she was educated along with her brothers, and graduated from the University of Cairo Medical School in 1955, specializing in psychiatry. For two years, she practiced as a medical doctor, both at the university and in her native Tahla. From 1958 until 1972, Saadawi worked as Director General for Public Health Education for the Egyptian government until she lost her job in the Egyptian government as a result of political pressure. The magazine, Health, which she had founded and edited for more than three years, was closed down. In 1981 Nawal el Saadawi publicly criticized the one-party rule of President Anwar Sadat, and was subsequently arrested and imprisoned. She was released one month after his assassination. In 1982, she established the Arab Women's Solidarity Association, which was outlawed in 1991. When, in 1988, her name appeared on a fundamentalist death list, she and her second husband, Sherif Hetata, fled to the USA, where she taught at Duke University and Washington State University. She returned to Egypt in 1996. In 2004 she presented herself as a candidate for the presidential elections in Egypt, with a platform of human rights, democracy and greater freedom for women. In July 2005, however, she was forced to withdraw her candidacy in the face of ongoing government persecution. Nawal El Saadawi has achieved widespread international recognition for her work. She holds honorary doctorates from the universities of York, Illinois at Chicago, St Andrews and Tromso. Her many prizes and awards include the Great Minds of the Twentieth Century Prize, awarded by the American Biographical Institute in 2003, the North-South Prize from the Council of Europe and the Premi Internacional Catalunya in 2004. Her books have been translated into over 28 languages worldwide. They are taught in universities both in countries like Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia in the Islamic world, but also in the West. She now works as a writer, psychiatrist and activist. Her most recent novel, entitled Al Riwaya was published in Cairo in 2004.