Home 5 News 5 First woman to publish novel in Arabic hailed in #WomanInHistory list

First woman to publish novel in Arabic hailed in #WomanInHistory list

by | Mar 9, 2021 | News

The Lebanese writer Zaynab Fawwaz (c1850-1914), the first woman to publish a novel in Arabic and author of the first play by a woman in Arabic, is among Arab World names to appear in the 500-strong #WomanInHistory list put together by British novelist Kate Mosse to mark International Women’s Day (8 March).

The list arose from a call by Mosse in January for people to ‘nominate incredible women from any period of history, anywhere in the world, so that collectively we may celebrate and honour their legacies’.

Interestingly, Fawwaz herself was also the author of a similar project to Mosse’s.  In the 1890s her biographical dictionary of famous women was published.  According to the Accessing Muslim Lives project at Northwestern University in Illinois and the UK’s University of Sheffield, in this work she offered ‘brief lives of famous women across the world, and centrally, Arab and Turkish and Muslim women.  Al-Durr al-manthur fi tabaqat rabbat al-khudur (Scattered Pearls Among the Classes of Cloistered Ladies) came out in 1894 and seems to have inspired early editors of women’s magazines to publish “famous woman biography” as encouragement to young (and older) female readers, and as evidence for doubters that women could combine—and had long combined—stellar public careers, intellectual production, and the domestic and child-rearing tasks that they were called upon to assume.’

Mosse says: “At the heart of my fiction are underheard and unheard women’s voices, the heroic ordinary women – who are, of course, anything but ordinary – whose day-to-day lives are too often left out of the official histories. Over the years, I’ve become more and more aware of how easily and how quickly many women, even those who were lauded in their day, can disappear from the official record.

The idea with #WomanInHistory is simple: to acknowledge women from every race, every age, every country of origin or adoption, working in every field and to applaud their achievements.  To put their names back into the history books.”

The list includes the Tunisia-born Berber Fatima al-Fahri, who is responsible for al-Qarawiyyin Mosque in Fez, Morocco, and from the third century, Septimia Zenobia, Queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria.

From the twentieth century, the novelist Elif Shafak nominated ‘the inspirational’ Iranian poet and filmmaker Forough Farrozhzad (1934-1967), while among those who are still with us Mosse hailed Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul.

Mosse concludes: “Our ‘First 500’ is varied and fabulous, it sings with admiration for so many inspiring women throughout the ages and those who are making history today. It’s all about putting all the women back into history, not just a select few. Because only by learning about the whole past, in all its technicolour glory, can we really know where we stand now.”

 

Recent News

23May
Alice Oseman’s Auction Supports Gaza Aid Efforts

Alice Oseman’s Auction Supports Gaza Aid Efforts

Alice Oseman, bestselling author of the YA Heartstopper books, has raised nearly £20,000 for children in Gaza in a special auction organised by Save the Children.  Not Alone: The Alice Osman Fundraiser for Children in Gaza included Alice Oseman bookplates and Heartstopper enamel pins as well as ‘signed and doodled’ Alice Oseman books.  Save the […]

23May
‘Kairos’ Claims Victory at International Booker Prize 2024

‘Kairos’ Claims Victory at International Booker Prize 2024

The 2024 International Booker Prize has been claimed by “Kairos,” a poignant German novel delving into a tumultuous love affair set in 1980s Germany. Authored by Jenny Erpenbeck and masterfully translated by Michael Hofmann, this literary gem captivates readers with its exploration of love against the backdrop of political turmoil.   Eleanor Watchel, chair of […]

23May
Lord Byron’s Lost Memoirs Were “Evil”

Lord Byron’s Lost Memoirs Were “Evil”

  A letter describing the contents of Lord Byron’s lost memoirs revealing how he “set his mind to evil” has been discovered in a university library. It was written by Elizabeth Palgrave, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, in 1823 after a visit to a publishing house. The “bad boy” poet gave his memoirs to a friend […]

Related Posts

‘Kairos’ Claims Victory at International Booker Prize 2024

‘Kairos’ Claims Victory at International Booker Prize 2024

The 2024 International Booker Prize has been claimed by "Kairos," a poignant German novel delving into a tumultuous love affair set in 1980s Germany. Authored by Jenny Erpenbeck and masterfully translated by Michael Hofmann, this literary gem captivates readers with...

Lord Byron’s Lost Memoirs Were “Evil”

Lord Byron’s Lost Memoirs Were “Evil”

  A letter describing the contents of Lord Byron's lost memoirs revealing how he "set his mind to evil" has been discovered in a university library. It was written by Elizabeth Palgrave, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, in 1823 after a visit to a publishing house....

Healing Fiction: A New Genre Emerges

Healing Fiction: A New Genre Emerges

We’ve had chic lit, cosy crime and romantasy – now make way for ‘healing fiction’, the latest genre to be identified by publishers.  In a fascinating article in the Bookseller, Justine Taylor, managing editor at the Zaffre Publishing Group, described healing fiction...

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this

Pin It on Pinterest