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Meet Jokha Alharthi, the first Arabic writer to win Man Booker Prize

Alharthi hopes that her novel, which features some quite robust characters trying to negotiate life in a patriarchal milieu, will open a "window" on Arab society

Jokha Alharthi
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Jokha Alharthi

Hasan Suroor New Delhi
Few things so starkly illustrate Western ignorance of Arab society as its simplistic and stereotypical view of Arab women — all burqa and hijab, and hapless victims of a misogynistic culture, allegedly complicit in their own oppression by their silence. Well-known Arab media commentator Ibrahim Nawar once wrote that the West saw Arab women simply as “silly veiled females” and the “oppressed who love their oppressors”.

The fact is that Arab women are as “diverse, independent and brave” as women anywhere, according to Omani novelist Jokha Alharthi, the first Arabic writer to win the prestigious £50,000 Man Booker International Prize awarded

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First Published: May 31 2019 | 8:48 PM IST

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