She believed that writing is an act of speaking the truth, an act of courage, that must serve the people and not those in power.
To understand her contribution to public debate, it's important to see her in the context of the historical moment that made her work possible, necessary and provocative.
A firebrand activist for women's rights, her novels espoused truths that made her hugely unpopular with the government.
Two years ago, on August 14, more than 800 protesters against a coup were massacred in Cairo. A court recently upheld the death sentence for Egypt's ousted elected leader.
There are plenty of alternatives to rule by the military strongman that is destroying Egypt. But most of the viable leaders are in exile or jail.