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

Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting from the Arab World Cover Image
By Zahra Hankir (Editor), Christiane Amanpour (Foreword by)
Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now


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 correspondent 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 traveling 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 attend an exclusive beauty contest for sheep in Saudi Arabia.

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

About the Author

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.

Christiane Amanpour (foreword) is CNN’s chief international anchor and host of the network’s award-winning, flagship global affairs program Amanpour, which also airs on PBS in the United States. She is based in the network’s London bureau. Christiane’s illustrious career in journalism spans more than three decades. After joining CNN in 1983, Amanpour rose through the organization, becoming the network's leading international correspondent reporting on international crises in the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Palestinian territories, Iran, Sudan, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Rwanda, the Balkans, Egypt, and Libya. Amanpour has interviewed most of the top world leaders over the past two decades and has received every major broadcast award, including an inaugural Television Academy Award, eleven News and Documentary Emmys, four Peabody Awards, and nine honorary degrees. In 2014, she was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame and in 2018 was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, an honorary citizen of Sarajevo, and a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Amanpour is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island.

Praise For…

“Remarkable [and] illuminating . . . Readers will be moved as each essay reflects both its writer and the people whose stories she reported to the world.”
Booklist (starred review)

“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.”
Publishers Weekly

“These stories from the field are rare and remarkable. . . . A timely, engaging work that reveals why the journalist’s profession is so important and so endangered.”

“A compelling and gripping read.”
Middle East Monitor

“A ‘who’s who’ of excellent women writers who have done some of the best journalism in the Arab world.”
Book Riot

“A revelation.”
The National

“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

“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

“Our Women on the Ground 
is 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

“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: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran and Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran

“In this groundbreaking anthology, Arab women write of the challenges and beauty of reporting from their homelands. With passion and beauty, they tell stories of activism, arrest, motherhood, joy, despair, exile and pain. For so long, news from the Middle East was told from a Western—and largely male—lens. Now it comes from the women who live there, who have the most at stake at preserving peace and establishing new norms in their countries. Their stories of how they crossed boundaries and pushed the limits professionally, culturally, and personally are stark and haunting. I loved this book, for its courage but also for the fact that the future of news will be told by local correspondents whose passion for justice and truth shines through. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to see a side of news they would never see by watching the nightly news.”
—Janine di Giovanni, author of The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria

“With steely courage and pens of fire, these sahafiyat—Arab female journalists—tell the stories of their countries’ conflicts, providing rigor, depth and insight few outside commenters could match.”
—Molly Crabapple, illustrator of Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War and author of Drawing Blood

“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
Product Details
ISBN: 9780143133414
ISBN-10: 0143133411
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: August 6th, 2019
Pages: 304