Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East needs a Sexual Revolution

Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East needs a Sexual Revolution
27 May 2015 at 06:00 pm
24 Apr 2015 at 08:00 pm
Free Word Centre
Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road,

Mona Eltahawy in conversation with Elif Shafak

Presented by Free Word Centre and The Literary Consultancy

MonaEltahawyAward-winning journalist Mona Eltahawy comes to Free Word to talk about her ground-breaking book Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East needs a Sexual Revolution. Mona will be in conversation with prize-winning writer, activist and unabashed commentator on global and Turkish affairs Elif Shafak.

In November 2011, Mona Eltahawy came to worldwide attention when she was assaulted by police during the Egyptian Revolution. She responded by writing a ground-breaking piece in Foreign Policy entitled ‘Why Do They Hate Us?’; ‘They’ being Muslim men, ‘Us’ being women. Mona draws on her years as a campaigner and commentator on women’s issues in the Middle East to explain that since the Arab Spring began, women in the Arab world have had two revolutions to undertake: one fought with men against oppressive regimes, and another fought against an entire political and economic system that treats women as second-class citizens in countries from Yemen and Saudi Arabia to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

Mona joins Turkey’s leading female writer, Elif Shafak, to discuss the role of women in the Arab world. Elif has won international acclaim for her lyrical blend of Eastern and Western storytelling styles. Her latest novel Honour explores the controversial issue of honour killings as it tragically plays out in one family’s life.

Tickets £5/£3, book now HERE

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning journalist and commentator on Arab and Muslim issues. She has appeared as a guest speaker on CNN, the BBC and Al Jazeera, and her essays have been published by the Washington Post, The Guardian and the New York Times. She has won numerous awards for her writing, including the European Union’s Samir Kasis Prize for Freedom of the Press in 2009. Newsweek magazine named Mona as one of its 150 Fearless Women of 2012 and in 2015 she was named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Arab Women by ArabianBusiness.com and was ranked 15 in Prospect magazine’s World Thinkers 2015 list. She lives in Cairo and New York.

Elif Shafak was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1971. She is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read woman writer in Turkey. Critics have named her as “one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary Turkish and world literature”. Her books have been published in more than 40 countries and she was awarded the honorary distinction of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.  Elif has published thirteen books, nine of which are novels. She writes fiction in both Turkish and English. Elif blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling, bringing out the myriad stories of women, minorities, immigrants, subcultures, youth and global souls. Her work draws on diverse cultures and literary traditions, as well as deep interest in history, philosophy, Sufism, oral culture, and cultural politics. Elif’s writing breaks down categories, clichés, and cultural ghettoes. She also has a keen eye for black humour.