A Brand New Novel
Josephine Baker, the early-20th-century African-American dancer, comic, and singer–hugely famous in Paris. Did you know that she was also a spy for the French Resistance during WWII?
Josephine Baker, A’isha bint Abi Bakr, and other inspirations As we wrap up Women’s History Month, I reflect on the difference the heroines in my novels have made in the world they lived in and today, including in my own life. From A’isha bint Abi Bakr, the youngest wife of the Prophet Muhammad and protagonist […]
It’s Banned Books Week! Did you know my first novel, THE JEWEL OF MEDINA, has been banned in several countries including Malaysia and, when I went there in 2011, Egypt? Why? Because I wrote about the Prophet Muhammad and his youngest wife, A’isha. Before it was even released, the book spurred an angry demonstration in […]
I remember the moment I discovered A’isha bint Abi Bakr, the youngest wife of the Prophet Muhammad. I found her in a book on women in Islam that I read after 9/11, when many of us were learning for the first time of the terrible oppression of women in Afghanistan. Nine-year-old A’isha was playing on […]
Here is the speech I gave on Sept. 11, 2012, at the Spokane Coeur d’Alene Woman Magazine Luncheon: “Moments,” I once wrote, “are the hinges on which the doors of the human universe swing.” I’m here to tell you about some of mine. I remember the moment I discovered A’isha bint Abi Bakr, the youngest […]
Here’s the text of my speech against Islamophobia given at Portland State University Friday, Oct. 29: As the author of two novels about the Prophet Muhammad and his controversial bride A’isha bint Abi Bakr, I know something about hate. I know something about fear. Some people hate me because they think I’m an Islamophobe. Islamophobes […]
Dear Reader, Every writer, it’s said, has a single story to tell — and tells it over and over again. A’isha bint Abi Bakr, the most famous and influential woman in Islam, inspired me to write about her life in my novels “The Jewel of Medina” and “The Sword of Medina.” Now that I’m at […]
Given in marriage at the tender age of nine to her father’s best friend, the Prophet Muhammad, A’isha relied on her intelligence and her wit many times to overcome the obstacles women faced in 7th-century Arabia. “Coco Before Chanel” shows us how, 13 centuries later, women still had to scheme and fight to achieve their fullest potential. This remains true for many women throughout the world today.
The remarkable, fabulous highlights of my life since the controversy over THE JEWEL OF MEDINA catapulted me to fame, or infamy, depending on your point of view.
Does God hate women? I would say “no.” God is love, remember? It’s men who hate women — men who appropriate the religious beliefs of holy men (and ignore those of holy women) and, with the help of the sword and the iron fist, turn them from tools of liberation into tools of oppression.
Every cloud, the saying goes, has a silver lining. And so it goes with “The Jewel of Medina,” being yanked out of publication by Random House, the world’s largest English-language publisher, just months before it was scheduled to appear on bookshelves in the U.S., then being the subject of threats in Serbia and an attack […]