cover image Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World

Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World

Edited by Zahra Hankir. Penguin, $17 trade paper (278p) ISBN 978-0-14-313341-4

Lebanese-British journalist Hankir compiles essays by 19 female reporters from across the Middle East, including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Palestine, and Egypt. Some are veteran journalists, others just emerging in their fields. Many risked their lives at the centers of conflict zones, such as Hannah Allam, who focused on the “tragic and resilient Iraqi women, a metaphor for the country itself” while covering the Iraq War for McClatchy Newspapers, and Nour Malas, who reported on the Syrian refugee crisis as she grappled with her Syrian identity and the destruction of her ancestral homeland. Others offer cultural critiques: Eman Helal chronicles sexual harassment in Egypt; Donna Abu Nasr evokes the changing state of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia (“when I saw women selling underwear” in Riyadh, she writes, “I choked up”); and Amira Al-Sharif describes her “unusual situation” as a single female photographer in her 30s, working in her native Yemen, where photography is a “man’s job” and most Yemenis get married in their teens. Offering a blend of memoir, war reporting, cultural commentary, history, and politics, these powerful essays deliver insightful analysis of the upheavals in the Middle East from committed and skilled writers. Agent: Jessica Papin, Dystel, Goderich and Bourret. (Aug.)