February 13, 2024

“In the Literature of Long Nails”.. The Triumph of Saudi Female Novelists Over the Forbidden

In the Literature of Long Nails

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Recently published by “Idaat Publishing and Distribution House”, the latest book by critic and journalist Mohammed Refaat, titled “In the Literature of Long Nails”.. Fragments from the Confessions of the Saudi Novelist”, monitors the development of women’s novels in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the journey of Saudi female novelists to assert themselves. This comes amidst the recent developments the Kingdom is experiencing on all levels, allowing women to express themselves and secure their rights, especially in the fields of literature and the arts.

From Challenging the Forbidden to the Pinnacle of Creativity

Refaat’s book focuses on the many societal obstacles that the Saudi female novelist has faced with patience, determination, and resolve until she gained her freedom and expressed the most delicate human emotions, challenging taboos. He discusses how her journey evolved to reach the peak of literary creativity, winning Arab and international cultural awards, and how her novels have won the admiration of both readers and critics alike, with some even making it to the bestseller lists.

The author points out that the creative journey of Saudi female novelists began with hiding behind pseudonyms like Samira Khashoggi or “Samira, daughter of the Arabian Peninsula,” with her first novel published in 1958 titled “I Bid My Hopes Farewell,” paving the way for a generation of writers including Huda Al-Rashid and Hind Baghfar, whose writings were characterized by distancing from Saudi culture and identity and being influenced by foreign cultures.

In the Literature of Long Nails

In the Literature of Long Nails Cover

The Emergence of Saudi Women’s Novels

He explained that the 1980s witnessed the real emergence of the Saudi female novelist as a result of the spread of education in the country. The 1990s began to shape the characteristics of women’s novels in Saudi Arabia, highlighting novelistic adventures that established a new phase in Saudi narrative writing, attempting to renew narrative and observe societal contradictions.

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