Seba Al-Herz

Siba Al-Harez

Seba Al-Herz, a trailblazing figure in Saudi Arabian literature, made waves with her debut novel, “The Others,” published by Al-Saqi. The pseudonym she adopts is a shield for a speculated Saudi Shi’i woman from the Eastern Province, a cloak borne out of necessity due to the novel’s bold themes. These themes include minority experiences, alienation, political detention, sectarianism, and notably, topics on homosexuality, such as lesbianism and experimentation.

Born in 1980 in Qatif, Seba Al-Herz’s upbringing in a culturally rich environment profoundly shaped her literary voice. Although deeply connected to her roots, she embraces the identity of an “internet writer,” highlighting the digital realm’s influence on her narrative style and as a medium for her audacious expressions.

Al-Herz’s literary journey gained momentum in 2001, initially through online platforms. With “The Others,” she boldly stepped into literary novels, presenting a work that was as contentious as it was celebrated. Her novel’s unflinching exploration of taboo subjects in conservative Saudi society was a daring move, igniting backlash yet captivatingly engaging readers.

The enigma surrounding Seba Al-Herz’s pen name fuels speculation and debate, leading to theories about her real identity, including guesses that she might be a male writer. This mystery enhances her work’s appeal, with literary critics and fellow authors like Joumana Haddad expressing curiosity and potential surprise regarding her true identity.

Despite the scarcity of personal details about Seba Al-Herz, “The Others” stands as a monumental contribution to Saudi literature. It challenges societal conventions and pioneers discussions on previously untouched subjects in Saudi writing. Her choice of anonymity is not just for safety; it reflects the broader context of artistic expression in her cultural milieu. Her courageous venture into sensitive topics marks her as a pivotal, though enigmatic, figure in contemporary Saudi literature.

Books Written by Seba Al-Herz