The Bestselling Women Arab Authors of the Decade

A new literary decade is upon us! We’re praising female Arab authors that have marked the past 10 years with their poignant words, provoking thoughts, and all-around enjoyable novels. This feature is not meant to rank authors but to celebrate their literary genius altogether. For all the bookworms, this is the perfect list to start your 2020 on a lit’ note.

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1- Samar Yazbek

Samar Yazbek is a Syrian writer and journalist and is globally known for her activism that kickstarted during the 2011 Syrian uprisings. Some of her most famous work includes The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria (2015) and A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution (2012), both a deeply autobiographical account of her experience amidst the upheavals.

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2- Badria Al-Bishr

A Saudi writer and novelist, Badria Al-Bishr writes novels focusing on strong female themes some of which The Seesaw (2010) and Love Stories on Al-Asha Street (2013). She currently writes for the newspaper Al-Hayat Saudi Arabia, under a column entitled Rima. Al-Bishr is one of the few voices that have kept succeeding despite some criticism received in Saudi Arabia.

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3- Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami is a Morrocan author of four novels, including The Moor’s Account (2014), which won several awards and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and The Other Americans (2019), which was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and a finalist for the National Book Award.

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4- Etel Adnan

As philosopher, poet, and painter, Etel Adnan has been most prolific as a poet, and has published more than a dozen collections of poetry. She has many different literary awards, and in 2014 was named a Chevalier Des Arts Et Des Lettres. Adnan’s decade finest include her poetry collection Sea and Fog (2013), which was awarded the Lambda Literary Award.

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5- Hoda Barakat

With impressive literary accolades, Hoda Barakat continues to release exceptional novels. Her fifth novel The Kingdom of This Earth (2012) reached the IPAF longlist in 2013. The bestselling voice won this year the International prize for Arabic fiction (Ipaf) for her novel The Night Mail, which tells the stories of people in exile through their letters.

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6- Inaam Kachachi

Author of The American Granddaughter, Inaam Kachachi released another non-fiction novel titledTashari, which deals with the tragedy of Iraqi displacement of the past few decades throughout the life story of a female doctor. The award-winning journalist was shortlisted for the International Prize Of Arabic Fiction in 2014.

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