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About the book
  • Published: 20 August 2019
  • ISBN: 9781787301702
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $35.00

Our Women on the Ground

Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World


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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

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, with a foreword by CNN chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour.

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. From sexual harassment on the streets of Cairo to the difficulty of travelling without a male relative in Yemen, their challenges are unique – as are their advantages, such as being able to speak candidly with other women at a Syrian medical clinic, or with men on Whatsapp who will go on to become ISIS fighters, rebels or pro-regime soldiers.

In Our Women on the Ground, 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.

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

  • Pub date: 20 August 2019
  • ISBN: 9781787301702
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $35.00

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 work has appeared in Vice, BBC News, Al Jazeera English, Bloomberg Businessweek, Roads & Kingdoms, and Literary Hub, among others. 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.


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

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

Book Riot

“[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

“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 and illustrator of Brothers of the Gun

“This dazzling book is so many things at once: a social primer on conflict in the Arab world; visceral narration that accommodates multiple allegiances, histories, and frames of inquiry; and a work of challenging reportage that refuses to fetishize risk and presents people living with conflict as humans, not simply subjects of violence. It elegantly demonstrates how to tell stories with humility, affection, and truthfulness.”

Azadeh Moaveni, author of Lipstick Jihad and Honeymoon in Tehran

“A remarkable book that fills a tremendous gap, as mainstream media coverage of the Middle East and Arab world has long been dominated by men or outsiders. 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

“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.”

Refinery29

“This astounding, affecting collection offers a sweeping panorama of the contemporary Arab experience – heartland and exile; repression and liberation; violence and love. I struggle to think of any work of reportage that has so fully depicted the many-layered recent history of this vibrant and traumatized region. 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 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

“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

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

Middle East Monitor

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

NPR.org

“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

“Compelling… With this book, 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


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