Regarded as one of the greatest and most controversial contemporary Arab novelists, Munif had his Saudi citizenship revoked in 1963 for "political activities" against the Kingdom's regime.

After he moved between different Arab countries he ended up living in Syria for the past 15 years.

His death is considered by many Arab intellectuals as a "great loss". 

"Munif always believed that writing is an effective tool for change and his departure signifies that we have lost one of the most courageous and noble writers in the Arab world in more than 30 years," Ibrahim Nasr Allah, a Jordanian writer and novelist, told Aljazeera.net

"He presented a refined and courageous literal work when he challenged the political taboos and wrote bravely about the stripping off of human liberty and dignity in the Arab world," said Nasr Allah whose relationship with Munif goes back to the early 80's.
 
"It is very rare to have a great writer such as Munif but death itself will not erase a single shining word of what he wrote."

Controversial trilogy

"He presented a refined and courageous literal work when he challenged the political taboos and wrote bravely about stripping off the human liberty and dignity in the Arab world"

Ibrahim Nasr Allah
Jordanian writer

Munif was born in Amman, Jordan in 1933 to a Saudi father and an Iraqi mother.

He received a number of awards, the most prestigious of which was the Cairo Award for Creative Narration in 1998.

His most famous work includes the controversial trilogy Cities of Salt, described by the late Arab-American writer Edward Said as "The only serious work of fiction that tries to show the effect of oil, Americans and the local oligarchy on a Gulf country."

Munif's other famous novels include The Tress and The Assassination of Marzuq, the East of the Mediterranean, and World Without Maps which was co-written with the late Jabra Ibrahim Jabra.

"Munif's death is a great loss for the Arabic novel", Egyptian writer Yusif al-Qaeed told Aljazeera.net. "Munif managed to maintain his intellectual independence and his respect for himself and his writing in spite of residing in different Arab countries.

"His work has definitely left a distinctive mark on the Arabic literature in the twentieth and the twenty first centuries. "