January 2018 – Hello! I’m knee-deep in editing some incredible essays rn (see below), so my blog, Florence of Arabia, is on hiatus. I have been freelancing for a bunch of publications, though. Check out my latest pieces on Beirut over at Roads & Kingdoms: a History of Beirut in 10 Dishes & 19 Things to Know Before You go to Beirut. Can someone send the latter to Jon Hamm, pls.
September 2017 – I’m ridiculously excited to share that I’ve just started working with Penguin on a book of essays by some incredible Arab women journalists who will reflect on their personal experiences covering the region and its many conflicts and nuances. The collection will feature personal essays and photography by women of different backgrounds, generations and nationalities who work in photo, print, broadcast and digital journalism. Not surprisingly, these reporters confront unique challenges, issues surrounding gender, nationality, tradition and authenticity.
This is a project that’s very dear to my heart, mostly because as readers of my blog know quite well, I’m a massive fan of strong Arab women who tirelessly work to raise awareness on the region and who dispel the many myths swirling around it. The book is long overdue and will hopefully help shape the narrative on the Arab world, one that’s often dominated by men or non-Arabs.
The as yet untitled anthology will give voice to a rich array of rarely-heard and behind-the-scenes perspectives from women who have cultural, linguistic and personal ties to the region they cover, journalists whose access and understanding are often quite different from that of their colleagues. I’m thrilled I’m going to be working with so many creative minds, and can’t wait to hear their stories.
The contributors’ stories are varied as the writers themselves, casting new and much needed light on the roles of women in the Middle East and the Arab world, the vital—and often threatened—place of journalism and the importance of not only of the tale, but of the teller. The idea that the publishing industry needs diverse voices is a welcome development, and a book written by women who hail from a group more often vilified, exoticised or pitied is crucial.
It’s early days yet — the book won’t be out for a while — but we’ve just announced the deal and hope you’ll join us in our giddiness (and in spreading the word). 🐧