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  • Published: 8 August 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473570191
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

Our Women on the Ground

Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World

Nineteen Arab women journalists speak out about what it's like to report on their changing homelands in this first-of-its-kind essay collection

'Determination, grit and humour shine through' Lindsey Hilsum, Observer
Nineteen Arab women journalists speak out about what it's like to report on their changing homelands in this first-of-its-kind essay collection.

A growing number of intrepid Arab and Middle Eastern sahafiyat - female journalists - are working tirelessly to shape nuanced narratives about their changing homelands, often risking their lives on the front lines of war.

Here, nineteen of these women tell us, in their own words, about what it's like to report on conflicts that (quite literally) hit close to home. Their daring and heartfelt stories, told here for the first time, shatter stereotypes about the region's women and provide an urgently needed perspective on a part of the world that is frequently misunderstood.

With a foreword by CNN chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour.

INCLUDING ESSAYS BY: Donna Abu-Nasr, Aida Alami, Hannah Allam, Jane Arraf, Lina Attalah, Nada Bakri, Shamael Elnoor, Zaina Erhaim, Asmaa al-Ghoul, Hind Hassan, Eman Helal, Zeina Karam, Roula Khalaf, Nour Malas, Hwaida Saad, Amira Al-Sharif, Heba Shibani, Lina Sinjab, and Natacha Yazbeck

  • Published: 8 August 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473570191
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

About the author

Zahra Hankir

Zahra Hankir is a Lebanese British journalist who writes about the intersection of politics, culture and society in the Middle East. Her writing and journalism have appeared on BBC News, Bloomberg News, Vice and Al Jazeera English, and in Roads & Kingdoms and Literary Hub, among other media outlets. She was awarded a Jack R. Howard Fellowship in International Journalism to attend the Columbia Journalism School and holds degrees in Politics and Middle Eastern studies from the American University of Beirut and the University of Manchester.
@zahrahankir, zahrahankir.com

Praise for Our Women on the Ground

The journalists in this book have demonstrated the highest professional achievements and courage. . . Without them, the stories of today and tomorrow will remain only partly told.

Christiane Amanpour, from the Foreword

A dazzling book that elegantly demonstrates how to tell stories with humility, affection, and truthfulness.

Azadeh Moaveni, author of Lipstick Jihad

The authors are a who's who of excellent women writers who have done some of the best journalism in the Arab world.

Kareem Shaheen, Book Riot

With steely courage and pens of fire, these sahafiyat - Arab female journalists - tell the stories of their country's conflicts, providing rigor, depth and insight few outside commenters could match.

Molly Crabapple, author of Drawing Blood

A compelling and gripping read . . . Hankir has created a book that we are all desperate to read.

Middle East Monitor

A remarkable book. The voices of these trailblazing women are even more vital today, when the region's upheaval cannot be explained without local, and especially female, perspectives.

Hassan Hassan, New York Times bestselling co-author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror

Out of the gloom of the Middle East, this book brims with new voices - Arab women reporting on their world as no one else has seen it, with courage, inspiration, and resilience. A terrific read, full of insight and surprise.

David E. Hoffman, former foreign editor of The Washington Post and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal

An astounding, affecting collection. Rich with understanding and sincere emotional connection to the people and places that drive the news, this book contains voices that are both fresh and necessary.

Megan K. Stack, author of Women's Work: A Reckoning with Work and Home

In this groundbreaking anthology, Arab women write of the challenges and beauty of reporting from their homelands. They tell stories of activism, arrest, motherhood, joy, despair, exile and pain, and of how they crossed boundaries and pushed the limits professionally, culturally, and personally. I loved this book, a must-read.

Janine di Giovanni, author of The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria

[An] inspiring and extraordinary essay collection. the stories these women have to tell are unique, and deeply needed at a time when our gaze so often turns to what's happening in the Arab world.

Sarah Shaffi, Stylist

A stirring, provocative and well-made new anthology . . . a book that banishes all manner of silences... that rewrites the hoary rules of the foreign correspondent playbook, deactivating the old clichés.

Dwight Garner, New York Times

An intimate glimpse into the courage and pressures bearing on the determined women who report on their own homelands... These sahafiyat are observers as well as insiders... while the women display remarkable resilience, they also speak of dilemmas and loss with heart-breaking clarity. Each has made great sacrifices and is trying to process where she stands.

Judith Matloff, Chatham House

In an era where the truth is put up for debate, let's celebrate these women, who venture into conflict to get at the truth.


Zahra Hankir's pioneering collection is required reading... An antidote to the endless stream of 'clickbait' and 'content', this is journalism at its most honest and reflective - a multi-dimensional narrative about what it means to be a female journalist in the Arab world and in the West... Hankir shines a light on the strength of those who have reported on war and womanhood and invites us to 'listen to what they have to say'. I urge you to accept her invitation.

Sarah Collins, The Arts Desk Books of the Year

Refreshing (and long overdue) . . . Will appeal to readers of all genders and backgrounds who want to broaden their understanding of the Arab world.


The essays are at turns searing, poignant, and funny, but what shines through in all of them is the sheer strength of the women writing.

Kim Ghattas, The Atlantic

Groundbreaking and intimate...allows the reader to imagine what current affairs coverage would look like if it was a continuous examination of a country's evolution from the perspective of those who live there.

Zara Meerza, Literary Hub

Showcases journalism at its bravest. Determination, grit and humour shine through the writing.

Lindsey Hilsum, Observer Books of the Year

Several of the[se women] have reported bravely on the conflict in Syria and the travails of women living under ISIS rule. . . . They provide a perspective and a range of contacts and ideas born of experience that had previously been largely missing.

Lindsey Hilsum, The New York Review of Books

Candid, evocative and above all, daring.

Harper's Bazaar Arabia

These nineteen brief, riveting essays argue for a more honest, experiential approach [to journalism]. Combining personal and professional history, they pull what can often register as distant, indistinguishable struggles into sharp focus...The journalists in Our Women on the Ground both break the rules and take advantage of them, describing as only they can the private lives of women who comprise the bulk of populations where so many men have died.

Maria Golia, Times Literary Supplement

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