Windawi, Thura al- 1983(?)–
WINDAWI, Thura al- 1983(?)–
PERSONAL: Female. Born c. 1983. Education: Attended University of Baghdad and University of Pennsylvania.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Viking/Penguin Group, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
Thura's Diary: My Life in Wartime Iraq (young adult), translation by Robin Bray, Viking (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Thura al-Windawi is the daughter of a British-educated father and a middle-class Iraqi woman who has written Thura's Diary: My Life in Wartime Iraq, a memoir of the time leading up to and including the U.S. invasion that began in March 2003. A British journalist who saw al-Windawi's diary helped get it translated and published. The book contains the thoughts and observations of a young woman whose life changed after her country came under attack. Al-Windawi writes of family moments, including baking bread with her mother and listening to her sister's protestations over the wearing of a head scarf. Most of the details involve the U.S war on Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's government and that conflict's aftermath, including how a childhood friend died trying to help others in his Baghdad neighborhood.
Al-Windawi expresses mixed feelings toward both Hussein and the country's U.S. liberators. As Elizabeth Bush pointed out in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, "Readers are not required to sort out a political position on the Iraqi conflict." Alison Follos wrote in School Library Journal, that al-Windawi's "focus is on explicitly and calmly exposing the ravages of war on the vulnerable members of society."
Al-Windawi studied pharmacology in Baghdad, and when her story reached the admissions department of the University of Pennsylvania, she was offered a four-year scholarship to continue her studies there. She told Rebecca Bellville of Citypaper.net that "the message that I want from my diary is that I want peace. After I came here, people are different and everyone has a good heart inside their hearts, and I want to take this message back to Iraq."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Al-Windawi, Thura, Thura's Diary: My Life in Wartime Iraq (young adult), translation by Robin Bray, Viking (New York, NY), 2004.
Booklist, May 15, 2004, John Green, review of Thura's Diary, p. 1613.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July-August, 2004, Elizabeth Bush, review of Thura's Diary, p. 452.
Horn Book, July-August, 2004, Christine M. Heppermann, review of Thura's Diary, p. 464.
School Library Journal, July, 2004, Alison Follos, review of Thura's Diary, p. 114.
Citypaper.net, http://citypaper.net/ (April 8, 2004), Rebecca Bellville, interview with al-Windawi.