Saudi writer Mohammed Alwan
Saudi writer Mohammed Alwan. Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: Prominent Saudi writer and ex-culture official Mohammed Ali Alwan has died at 73, his family said.

The cause of his death was not given. But his departure came after a short bout of unspecified illness, according to media reports.

Born in the Saudi city of Abha in 1950, Alwan obtained a BA degree in Arabic literature at the King Saudi University’s Faculty of Arts in 1974. He had also held several posts at the Saudi Ministry of Media including assistant undersecretary. He edited the culture pages in several Saudi newspapers.

During his literary career, Alwan published several collections of short stories. They include “A Caller”; “The Tale Starts Like This”; “Bread and Silence”; and “The Nation’s Memory”. In 2020, he published his novel “The Dinner Bird”. He also penned articles in several publications.

Alwan’s death has triggered an outpouring of tributes in the Saudi culture community. Saudi Minister of Media Salman Al Dossary said Alwan has left a “legacy of lofty morals and several literary works”.

The Saudi Society for Arab Literature paid homage to the well-known writer. The culture section of Al Jazirah newspaper praised Alwan as a landmark writer of short story in the kingdom, saying he has enriched the Saudi cultural scene with his writings.

“Modernity has shut its door,” Saudi writer Abdullah Bekhit said, mourning Alwan’s death.

“Painful to lose a loved one and a friend. The vacuum you have left, Mohammed, can’t be filled by anyone else,” said celebrated actor Naser Al Qasabi on X, formerly Twitter.

Saudi writer Ahmed Al Dwaihy, meanwhile, described Alwan as a pioneer of short story.