Celebrated Syrian novelist Hanna Mineh dies aged 94

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Award-winning Syrian novelist Hanna Mineh, known in his war-torn country as the father of the modern novel, died on Tuesday aged 94, state media said.

The prolific author died “after a long battle with illness”, state news agency SANA said.

Mineh wrote around 40 novels, many inspired by the sea and his coastal hometown of Latakia, where he was born in 1924.

His most famous novel, entitled “The Road and the Storm” in Arabic, was set in French mandate Syria during the Second World War. It was adapted to film in 2012.

He was one of the founders of the Syrian Writers’ Association and the Arab Writers’ Union in Damascus in the 1950s.

Among other awards, Mineh in 2006 received the Naguib Mahfouz Prize for Arabic Literature, named after the late Egyptian novelist and Nobel laureate.

In Syria, the culture ministry each year awards the Hanna Mineh Prize for Literature.

On Tuesday, the ministry hailed Mineh as “one of the greatest Arab novelists”, SANA said.