While female presence in the literary world across the Middle East continues to grow, novelists like Radwa Ashour have certainly made their mark. The Egyptian author, translator and academic is well-known for her works including Siraaj, Granada and The Woman from Tantoura.
Much of Ashour’s work captures Egyptian history and issues surrounding identity in the Arab world. In an essay for the anthology The View from Within, Ashour stated, ‘I am an Arab woman and a citizen of the third world and my heritage in both cases is stifled…I write in self-defense and in defense of countless others with whom I identify or who are like me.’
Although Ashour lived during the postwar period, her words continue to resonate in the minds of many Arabs across the world. The author’s novels have contributed immensely to Arabic literature and she continues to be celebrated even today. Recently, Google created a Doodle to celebrate what would have been Ashour’s 72nd birthday on May 26. Ashour passed away in 2014. Equally, we wanted to celebrate Ashour a woman who has come to represent what it means to be an unapologetic Arab woman in the modern world.