10 Saudi Arabian Female Authors To Know

Saudi Arabian authors write from their own experiences and derive from their own realities, which makes their words hit us like nothing ever did before. This month, we honor the imaginative minds able to produce pages and pages of their most intimate, inner thoughts, creating a laudable piece of work that keeps us rummaging through its pages all night. Whether they reflect from their careers, families, friends, hardships, or joys, the resulting fiction and non-fictions pieces are unpretentious, undisputable, and sometimes unprecedented.

Here are 10 Saudi Arabian female writers to know and read:

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1. Badriyah al-Bishr
Al-Bishr is multi-award winning author who started writing at a young age, and continues her passion to this day forward. Her novel was surprisingly approved for publication in Saudi Arabia, but has received local acclaim from both critics and fans. Some of her most famous books include Hind and the Soldiers (2005), The Seesaw (2010), and Love Stories on al-Asha Street (2013) - which was long-listed for the Arab Booker Prize in 2014. She currently writes for the newspaper Al-Hayat Saudi Arabia, under a column entitled Rima.

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2. Sarah al-Aliawi
Despite starting at a small age, her writings have won the admiration of many readers. Al-Aliwai has participated in many festivals and literary events and has been honored by the Saudi Ambassador in Germany for her participation in the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2013. Her book A Woman’s Toy… A Man - Loaabat al Mar’a… Rajol (2008), has been transformed into a television series, and was a great success. Among her novels are: Saudi Women - Saudiyat (2006), For Lying, There’s Men - Wa Lil Kizb Rijal (2011), and When a Man Loves – ‘Indama Yaashak Al-Rijal (2015).

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5. Fatima Abdulla al-Musheeq
Al-Musheeq is considered one of the most prominent Saudi women writers. She has held many chief editor positions and has written in several literary and poetry magazines based in the Gulf. Some of her writings go under the pseudonym Al Jawhara, and her list of published works is quite impressive. She has 16 poems published including Perfume Bottle – Zoujajat Otor, The Southern Wind – Reeh Al Janoub, and Arrogant – Maghroura.

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4. Leena Althekhair
Saudi Arabia’s youngest English language author, Leena Al Khair published her first novel at 15 years of age. Her book, Foreshadow: Trapped in Her Own Mind, was initially a school writing assignment that blossomed into a full-blown publication affair. The young writer even managed to land a book deal, and attended her own book signing in Virgin Megastore in Jeddah.

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3. Ameera al-Mudhi
A Saudi novelist with a medicinal background, Ameera al-Mudhi graduated from university with a nursing degree. At some point in her career, she paused and turned to writing, only to produce some of the best novels written by Saudi authors. She has four books published to her name: And The Love Sun Sets – Ghabat Sham Al Hobb (2005), The Damned – Al Malaouna (2007), A Dangerous Woman - Ontha Moufakhakha (2010), and It Comes in Springtime – Ya’ti Fil Rabeea (2016).

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6. Raja’a Alem
Alem is perhaps one of the most eminent names on the global scene. She is the receiver of many esteemed awards, most prominently the Arab Booker Prize in 2011 for her novel, The Dove’s Necklace – Tawk Al Hamam. Alam is the write of many noteworthy works, some of which have been translated into English and Spanish. Other famous books of hers include The Silk Road – Tareek Al Hareer (1995), Fatma (2002), and The Ring – Al Khatem (2006).

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7. Rajaa al-Sanea
Does Girls of Riyadh – Banat Al Riyadh ring a bell? This book, published in 2005, has been translated to a whopping 40 languages, has been nominated for the International DUBLIN Literary Award in 2009, and sold 3 million copies around the world. Al Sanea is the Saudi writer behind this masterpiece written in the form of emails, and was listed among Arabian Business’ 100 Most Influential Personalities Under 40.

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8. Atheer al-Abdallah al-Namshi
Re-knowned for her novel I Loved You More Than I Should Have - Ahbabtouka Akthar Mima Yanbaghi (2014), which was among the list of best-selling books for years. Al Namshi was eclusively a journalist, but then halted her career to continue her passion. She went on to write many other novels, comprising of Forgive Me - Faltaghfouri (2013) and All of the Dreams Die in December - Fi December Tantahi Kol Al Ahlam (2011).

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9. Ghada Aboud
This Saudi author’s debut novel, Bipolar (2018), tackles a rather taboo subject in the kingdom. She deems the reasoning around the psychological disorder, which is often “romanticized” and associated with talent, to be completely destructive. Consequently, she tackles that rationale in her book through inventing a character of a therapist who is diagnosed with the disorder herself. The piece of work is infused with metaphors comparing the illness tropes to Jeddah area, and other forms of literary masterpieces and life lessons that allow us to accept our selves regardless of the downfalls and victories.

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10. Fawziyya Abu Khalid
Infused with political connotations and probes, Fawziyye Abu Khalid established her feat when her first poetry collection, Until When Will They Abduct You on Your Wedding Night? – ‘Illa Mata Yakhtifunaki Lailat Al Aours, was published in 1974. A huge advocator for gender equality and equal opportunities, her activism is evident in many of her works; most notably Secret Readings in the History of Arab Silence (1985) and Mirage Water – Maa’ Al Sarab (1995).

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