Local author to discuss changes for Saudi women
Jefferson author Kay Hardy Campbell will discuss changing conditions for women in Saudi Arabia at the Wiscasset Public Library March 28, at 5 p.m. The talk, “Saudi Women: Change and Challenge,” will offer perspectives on current changes facing Saudi women, including a recent government ruling that will officially permit women to drive starting this June.
Campbell is an Arabic-speaking writer who worked as a freelance journalist while living in Saudi Arabia from 1978 to 1985. She wrote about Saudi culture, the arts, and business for English language publications including the Arab News, Saudi Gazette and Saudi Business Magazine. She currently writes feature stories for AramcoWorld Magazine and occasionally returns to Saudi Arabia on assignment. Her blog on the push to permit Saudi women to drive has been following the subject since 2009.
A graduate in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Minnesota, Campbell also earned a master’s degree from Harvard in Middle Eastern Studies, and an MBA from Northeastern University.
Campbell is the author of “A Caravan of Brides,” a recently published novel that portrays the life of Saudi women through several generations. Set in the late 1970s in the free-wheeling city of Jeddah on Saudi Arabia’s west coast, it also steps back and traces the early history of Saudi Arabia, starting in World War I, all through the eyes of women.
“Usually, when we hear about the history of the Arabia, it’s just about politics, war and oil,” Campbell said. “I wanted to explore how women lived through those years.”
In her talk, Campbell will discuss the historic elements in her novel and have copies available for sale.
Kirkus Reviews recently gave “A Caravan of Brides” a coveted starred review, saying “Campbell’s masterful debut novel delivers a story that matches up flawlessly with real-life aspects of Middle Eastern culture, geography, and history. A mesmerizing Middle Eastern tale from beginning to end.”
Campbell’s talk is made possible by the Friends of the Wiscasset Public Library. There is no charge to the public and light refreshments will be available. For more information, contact Tania Hayes on 882-7069 or the library at 882-7161.