Project History

Diane d’Almeida is a senior librarian at Boston University. With a grant from the Fulbright Foundation, she began the extensive travel and local research that led to discovering a wide range of fiction writing by Arab women. As much of it was barely known in Arab lands and totally unrecognized in the West, she decided to interview on video many of the leading women writers in the Arab world about their motivation and the themes they find important, as well as the difficulties they encounter in gaining an audience. She found a passionate group of women including many struggling with similar issues about how to describe the world around them and to get published faced by counterparts in the West. The women are extraordinarily committed to their work and to a Western or non-Arab reader their stories often have a wondrous quality no doubt enhanced by evoking different and sometimes opaque cultures. Their writing exposes much of the West’s image of Arab culture as stereotypical, narrow and unfairly negative.

Coming back to the USA, d’Almeida decided to interview and video Western women writers so that a viewer could compare the differences and similarities. These differences and similarities emerged from hearing how the two cultures were approached by passionate fiction writers from each. The collection of these interviews now number over twenty. A complete bibliography and those compiled here will soon be added to this site.

Click here for more (.pdf).

Diane d’Almeida