Shaykh, Hanan al (1945–)

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Shaykh, Hanan al (1945–)

Lebanese novelist and playwright. Born 1945 in Beirut, Lebanon; brought up in Ras al-Naba; attended American College for Girls in Cairo, 1963–66.

One of the foremost writers of the Arab world, began career as a journalist in Beirut, working for the magazines al-Hasna and al-Nahar (1968–75); published 1st book Intihar rajul mayyit (1970); left Lebanon because of civil war (1976), living in Saudi Arabia until 1982, then moved to London; came to international prominence with Hikayat Zahrah (The Story of Zahra, 1980), followed by Misk al-ghazal (Women of Sand and Myrrh, 1989); other writings, which focus on the limitations imposed on women in a patriarchal society, include Barid Bayrut (Beirut Blues, 1992), Only in London (2000) and a collection of short stories I Sweep the Sun off Rooftops (1998); works have often been banned in the Arab world.

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