Saudi Females Authors To Read Ahead of International Women’s Day
Illustration by Holly Maguire
Across the globe, people are celebrating International Women’s Day, in recognition and in honor of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. So, as part of celebrating all that women have contributed and continue to contribute to society, particularly in Saudi Arabia, a nation that has embarked on a transformative phase in its history with the aim to celebrate, support, and create opportunities for women, we have shortlisted three of the Kingdom’s female writers from our list of favorites whose words and works inspire.
Al-Bishr is a Saudi Arabian writer and novelist, born in Riyadh in 1967. After graduating from Lebanon with a doctorate in Philosophy of Arts and Sociology, she began her writing career with a weekly article for the Saudi magazine, Al Yamama. With that, her popularity grew and she went on in 2011 to become the first Arab woman to win the prize for the best newspaper column at the Arabic Press Awards in 2011. Al-Bishr also worked on writing fiction and has authored a number of authors to date, her most recognized work perhaps Love Stories on al-Asha Street, which tells the story of three heroines searching for their own definition of freedom. Set in Riyadh in the 1970s, the book begins on the same romantic note as the era of black and white films, but quickly takes a seat-gripping turn as the three women are faced with issues brought about by religious extremism.
2. Amal Sharaf
Known for merging humanitarian and voluntary work with her cultural and literary passion, Amal Mohamed Sharaf is a Saudi writer and poet to know Over the course of her inspiring career, she has many achievements – in literature and outside of it – under her belt. In 2019, she was awarded the Personality of the Year for the Art of Diction and Influence title. She also earned a lifetime membership in Friends of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) for her efforts in the service of society and humanity, particularly for her work in the field of the disability.
When it comes to young talent, there is no shortage of it in Saudi Arabia, such as with novelist Malak Al-Ogaili. This young author is known for When Consciousness Ceases – ‘Indama Youthkab Alwaa’i. The book tells the story of a young mother Amal, and her experiences grappling with infertility, as well as her reflections on her and her husband because of traditional society’s pressure. As a way to escape it all, Amal begins to draw up a fantasy world centered on motherhood, a story that unfolds in a way that blurs the line between Amal’s imagination and her reality.