5 Must-Read Books By Arab Women
The Middle East has a long tradition of female writers defying expectations and shedding light on the realities of daily life for women in the region. By inter-weaving tales of migration, love, war and identity, their stunning novels create a complex tapestry depicting female experiences in the Arab world.
Whatever genre you prefer, these addictive and thoughtful reads will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Maryam, Keeper of Stories, by Alawiyya Sobh, trans. Nirvana Tanoukhi (2016).
Set during the Lebanese Civil War, this novel offers a glimpse into the hidden lives of women trying to keep their families together in a time of violence and instability.
The Woman of Tantoura, by Radwa Ashour, trans. Kay Heikkinen (2015).
This novel follows the life of Ruqayya, a young Palestinan girl living in the village of al-Tantoura as she comes to terms with the complicated and dangerous realities of her homeland. Although Ruqayya is continuously faced with loss, conflict and pain, her story highlights the stregth of spirit of children everywhere.
Of Noble Origins, by Sahar Khalifeh, trans. Aida Bamia (2012).
Sahar Khalifeh tells the story of the Qahtanis, a Palestinian family that claim to be descended from Prophet Muhammad. Their lives turn upside down after the First World War when they are faced to confront the British Mandate and the Zionist movement.
Always Coca-Cola, by Alexandra Chrietieh, trans. Michelle Hartman (2011).
Deep-rooted problems within Lebanese society are cast out of the shadows in this groundbreaking novel by Alexandra Chrietieh. Told through the lives of three young women leading very different lives, it explores how brands become inextricably tied to people’s experinences.
I Want to Get Married! by Ghada Abdel Aal, trans. Nora Eltahawy (2010).
Playing on the expectations of love and dating in the Middle-East, this satirical novel follows Ghada Abdel Aal, a young Egyptian woman desperate to find a husband. Rather than keep her quest to herself, she opens up about her dating misadventures on her wildly popular blog.