This year's list of 100 Most Powerful Arab Women includes the following writers:
No. 21: Nawal Saadawi
Nawal Al Saadawi is famous for her 60-year long campaign against female genital mutilation.
The Egyptian feminist, writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist has written more than 70 books tackling problems faced by women in Egypt.
In 1972, Al Saadawi published Women and Sex, for which she lost her job as a director at the Egyptian Ministry of Health, and in the 1980s she was jailed for three months for “crimes against the state”.
She is currently writing a novel about the Egyptian revolution.
No. 61: Ahdaf Soueif
Ahdaf Soueif is one the Arab world’s most internationally acclaimed novelists.
Her debut novel, In the Eye of the Sun, was published in 1993, and was followed by The Map of Love, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The Map of Love sold over a million copies and was translated into 21 languages.
In 2008, Soueif launched the first Palestine Festival of Literature.
Her most recent work, Cairo: My City, Our Revolution, chronicled the eighteen days she spent in Tahrir Square in early 2011.
No. 76: Fatema Mernissi
Fatema Mernissi has published several books on the position of women in the rapidly changing Muslim communities in Morocco.
In 1975 she published the result of her first fieldwork: Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society.
Much of her work has been translated in many languages and is widely read, also in Islamic countries.
She has served as a member in many national, pan-Arabic and international forums on women and development in the Islamic world.
No. 89:Rajaa Al Sanea
Rajaa Al Sanea shot to fame in 2005 when her book, Girls Of Riyadh, was published in Lebanon. Two years later it was translated into English and before long was being nominated for awards across the globe.
In 2009, it was long-listed for the Dublin Literary Award. It became a bestseller across much of the Middle East and continues to be popular across the world. It was, however, not gladly received by everyone.
In her native country, Saudi Arabia, it was immediately banned and there remains a distinctive divide in opinion of the novel, which was heavily critricised in the Saudi media. While Al Sanea is held as a role model by liberals, the conservative sections of Saudi society have heavily criticised the book for being unconventional.
Al Sanea, who comes from a family of doctors, is now a practising dentist in Chicago. Rumour has it that she is currently penning her next novel.
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No. 30: Liana Badr
Liana Badr was born in 1950 in Jerusalem to a nationalist family, and was raised in Jericho. She obtained a BA in philosophy and psychology from the Beirut Arab University. She was not able to complete her MA due to the Lebanese civil war.
Badr worked as a volunteer in various Palestinian women’s organisations, and as an editor in the Al Hurriyya review cultural section.
After the 1982 Palestinian exodus from Lebanon, she moved in Damascus before moving to Tunis and then Amman. She returned to home to Palestine in 1994. She is a married mother of two.
In addition to her literary work, she also runs the Cinema department at the Palestinian ministry of culture in Ramallah, and was also the editor of the ministry’s periodical Dafater Thaqafiyya.
Badr published her first novel A Compass for the Sunflower in 1979. She has also published since, short story collections, novellas, a book about poet Fadwa Touqan. In addition, Badr has also published five children’s books from 1980 to 1991. Her works have been translated into a number of languages. Her works mainly focus on themes of women and war, and exile.
Her writing style has been described by the Times Literary Supplement as “defy the laws of fictional gravity”, and “densely lyrical”
No. 43: Leila Abouzeid
Leila Abouzeid, the first female Moroccan writer to be translated into English, is a trailblazer in that she writes in Arabic and not the French language preferred by her peers. She was born in 1950 and attended college in America before she began her career as a print and radio journalist, then segued into work as a press assistant in government ministries and the prime minister’s office.
She is a former fellow of the World Press Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her first novel Year of the Elephant chronicles events - including divorce, the struggle against poverty and conflict between family members - that are common themes in contemporary Moroccan literature.
But in her work, they are presented from the eyes of a woman. She has charted a very deep personal journey through family conflicts ignited by the country’s civil unrest, as Morocco broke away from French colonial He latest book The Last Chapter is semi-autobiographical and about a young Moroccan woman and her struggle to find an identity in the second half of the twentieth century.
No. 51: Mona Eltahawy
Mona Eltahawy is one of the foremost female Arab journalists. The 43-year-old New York-based, Egypt-born speaker regularly appears on US television and in newspapers around the globe. Eltahawy is a columnist for Canada’s Toronto Star, Israel’s The Jerusalem Report and Denmark’s Politiken and writes often for The Washington Post and the International Herald. Previously she’d been Cairo and Israel correspondent for Reuters and reported from Saudi Arabia to China. She was the first Egyptian journalist working for a Western agency in Israel.
In 2010 the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded her its Special Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism and the Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver gave her its Anvil of Freedom Award. In 2009, the European Union awarded her its Samir Kassir Prize for Freedom of the Press for her opinion writing and Search for Common Ground named her a winner of its Eliav-Sartawi Award for Middle Eastern Journalism.
No. 63: Nathalie Handal
An award-winning poet, playwright, and writer, Nathalie Handal is a truly global figure. She studied poetry at Bennington College in the US, drama and English at the University of London and fiction in Humber College in Canada.
Handal has lived across the world including Europe, the US, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Arab world and lectures to students from Africa to New York’s Columbia University. She has also been involved either as a writer, director or producer in over twenty theatrical and/or film productions worldwide.
Of Palestinian origin, her work has been published globally and has been translated into more than fifteen languages.
Raja Alem, a Saudi novelist who wrote "The Doves' Necklace," and Mohammed Achaari, a Moroccan poet and author of "The Arch and the Butterfly," share the $50,000 prize, announced in Abu Dhabi on Monday March 13.
It is the first time the prestigious prize has been shared by two joint winners.
"The Doves' Necklace" is set in Mecca and explores crime, religious extremism and the exploitation of foreign workers by a "mafia" of building contractors, who are destroying the historic areas of the city.
Read more here.