Fiction and Autobiography by Arab Writers in English
Chapter 4 Fadia Faqir: Women’s resistance, Women’s choices
Turn a critical face both ways, towards the country of origin and its traditions and the country of reception. The challenge, the alienation, the ‘offence’ are two-sided. Fred Halliday (1989) Born in Jordan where she gained a BA in English, Fadia Faqir holds two postgraduate degrees in creative writing from the universities of Lancaster and East Anglia respectively. She has taught creative writing at the University of Exeter and was Lecturer in Arabic at the University of Durham, England (where she now holds a research fellowship). Actively involved in Middle East Women’s Studies, a declared Arab feminist and promoter of Arab women’s writing, Faqir is now a full time writer. Compared with other writers of the Anglo- Arab encounter, her writing is distinctive, both in its conscious con- nection to Arabic narrative forms, which she co-opts in an innovative manner into her English fiction, and for her contextualisation of that encounter alongside a gendering of the Arab nation. In her contribu- tion to a collection of autobiographical writings by thirteen Arab women writers, Faqir adopts the persona of Shahrazad, a much be- loved figure in Middle East women’s feminist discourse, and sets her within an allegory of late twentieth century global politics in which she has sought exile in the West from the sultan’s court in Baghdad (Faqir: 1998). Faqir’s conceptualisation of the Anglo-Arab encounter may be characterised as a process that begins and ends in self- enunciation and dissent. The journey commences with estrangement from the Arab society constructed...
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