Saturday, October 13, 2007

Book Celebrates Achievements of Saudi Women

Marking the dynamic change in the lives of Saudi women in the past few years, journalist Ali Fagandash is currently working on the second edition of a collection of biographies of successful Saudi women. The first edition of “Women of Saudi Arabia” was published last year and included profiles of 80 women, contemporary and from the 20th Century. The book sold out.

“I wanted to show to the world that despite the image of Saudi women, and despite all difficulties, there are quite a lot of women in Saudi Arabia who have excelled at their professions, be it media, education, fine arts, business and entertainment.”

The 2006 edition of the book focused primarily on women of the Hijaz (from the western coastal region of the Kingdom). The second edition, said Fagandash, would include a greater variety of women from across the Kingdom. The author said he is planning to release translations in French and English.

The first edition included Saudi Arabia’s first woman novelist Samira Khashoggi. The black-and-white picture accompanying the biography shows a woman with a 1960s-era garcon hairdo and no head scarf. At the beginning of the book is Rajaa Al-Sanea, the author of the much-publicized book “The Girls of Riyadh”. Al-Sanea’s color photograph shows a young woman in a black hijab and full makeup.

The book also includes singers Toha and Ibtisam Lutfi, from the first generation of Saudi singers, as well as the contemporary Arabic pop singer Waad.

Fagandash said the second edition would be available in Saudi book stores next year.

Arab News (Saudi Arabia), October 8, 2007, by Ebtihal Mubarak