Naguib Mahfouz is no more. He passed away on August 30, 2006 at the age of 94. Mahfouz, was the first Arab writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. For decades he held the torch of humanism in Â Egypt and beyond. His writings were vibrant and cheerful like the alleys of old Cairo bringing all the facets of Cairo alive. Most of his novels were set within the1,000-year-old Islamic quarter of Cairo where he lived all his life wading through the crowded alleys and passing by the majestic mosques. But Cairo was only a symbol – a great one at that – for the world and its contradictions.