The first novel published by a Yemeni woman is, as translated to English, al-Iryani’s “The Victim of Greed” in 1971. She followed this with “Maybe He’ll Return” in 1981. This time, instead of a novel, she wrote a compilation of short stories. Two of those stories are “Heir Apparent” and “Misfortune in the Alley”. “Heir Apparent” is about how women get blamed if she is infertile or if she produces daughters because, despite scientific evidence stating otherwise, it is still believed that the woman is responsible for the sex of the baby. “Misfortune in the Alley” is about a girl who disappears from her father’s home and it highlights the threat to hers and her father’s honour, as well as the danger to her life, emphasizing the patriarchal values within Arab societies. She later followed up with a series of children’s stories. In 1999 she wrote “It’s Raining Cotton”.
Within most of her writing, she addresses contemporary national politics, especially because of the nations struggle for independence. She addresses current political issues and cross-national struggles that women face. Despite all of her political affiliations and published work, some of which is translated to English, relatively little is know about this Yemeni author, diplomat and feminist.
Ashour, R. Ghazoul, F.J., Reda-Mekdashi, H. (Ed.) “Arab Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide, 1873-1999.” Cario, Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press. 2008. Press. http://books.google.ca/books?id=MB6gphBXU0kC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
“Introduction”. State University of New Yourk Press. Albany. 2005. Online. Feb. 26, 2014. http://www.sunypress.edu/pdf/61097.pdf
“Muslim Women’s Seminar on Globalization”. Info-Prod Research (Middle East). Feb.6, 2005. Internet. Feb. 17, 2014 http://search.proquest.com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/docview/457515338
Talhami, G. Historical Dictionary of Women on the Middle East and North Africa”. Maryland. Scarecrow Press Inc., 2013. Print. http://books.google.ca/books?id=5q7SoBGMurEC&pg=PA176&lpg=PA176&dq=the+victim+of+greed+by+ramziya+abbas+al-iryani&source=bl&ots=3FOu_38V3h&sig=0HHok4g5zphjKkTFJfkOcwlqYao&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tk4NU6GOBMXX2AWO5YGABQ&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=the%20victim%20of%20greed%20by%20ramziya%20abbas%20al-iryani&f=false
Ramziya Abbas al-Iryani
Born in Iryan, Yemen in 1954, Ramziya Abbas al-Iryani is given credit for being the first Yemeni woman to be a published author. However, being an author is not her only notable accomplishment. She is also the first female diplomat in Yemen, holding a career in the Yemeni Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is also a feminist, and she is the leader of the Yemeni Women’s Delegation as well as President of the Yemen Women’s Federation. Lastly, she is the elected head of the Yemeni Women’s Union and is an active board member of the Arab Family Organization.
As of November 30, 1967 Yemen saw the end of colonization. The separation from Britain allowed authors to change how they wrote, as their view of themselves changed. Witnessing this allowed al-Iryani to decide to abandon the same kind of roots that had been present throughout so many of the works that predated hers. Despite amendments to the political laws, traditional ideals are sill seen through the tribes, leaving many women illiterate. Despite this fact, many women are still able to openly express themselves through writing, usually in Arabic. Al-Iryani is an exception to this rule. She completed her undergraduate degree in philosophy at Cairo University in 1977. She then proceeded to get her Masters in Arabic Literature some years later.
Huda Ablan was born in 1971 in Yemen. She has obtained a degree in economics and business from the University of Sana’a. Later on in 1933 she obtained her masters degree in political science from the same university. Currently Ablan is the secretary general of the union of Yemeni writers and has published six volumes of poetry.
When interviewed by Al Shorfa about Yemen’s cultural scene, Ablan presented her thoughts on film and theatre association. She elaborated on the political conditions and meager resources that restrict Yemeni talent from prospering. Ablan presented her concern to protect Yemeni artifacts and manuscripts from being smuggled and vandalized. Ablan believes the media and mosques must educate the citizens and society regarding the protection of Yemeni artifacts.
Ablan is proud of her title as a poet and cherishes her timeless designation. She has published six poetry books and is currently working on other pieces, which relate to problems associated with the Arab Spring.
Ablan’s work has been translated into many languages throughout two issues of Banipal Magazine. Her poetry was also anthologized in the 2001 collection of The Poetry of Arab Women. Along with her duties as the secretary general of the Yemeni Writers Union, Ablan is married with children.
“Yemeni Deputy Culture Minister: Antiquities are Yemen’s focus | Al-Shorfa.” AlShorfa RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <http://al-shorfa.com/en_GB/articles/meii/features/2013/03/14/feature-03>.
“‘Emerging Arab Voices’.” Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. <http://www.arabnews.com/node/405920
In an interview with Al Shorfa, Hoda Ablan, Yemen’s deputy culture minister discusses her own written pieces including six poetry books and more to come. She shares her views regarding post-revolution literature in Yemen. Ablan discusses the unwarranted absence of cinema in Yemen, in contrast to the abundance of talent Yemen possesses. When questioned regarding the state’s priorities Ablan reviews the ministry’s meager condition but full attempt to produce creative cultural books, manuscripts and general art. Ablan answers questions regarding Yemen’s agenda to hold cultural festivals in Yemen and abroad by activating cultural co-operation with other Arab countries and communities.
“Al-Kokabany sheds lights on Yemeni novels and women issues.” Al-Kokabany sheds lights on Yemeni novels and women issues. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2014. <http://archive.is/gIAe>.
In an interview with an anonymous interviewer Dr. Nadiah Alkowkabany discusses her first published pieces in 1997 titled “Ending” which gave her confidence to become a full-time writer. She further discusses the Yemeni public’s ability to connect with her writing through a connection with the environment. Alkowkabant discusses her attempt to diversify her writing techniques in order to attract a larger audience. This interview sheds light on Alkowkabany’s future plans to write various genres. She also discusses the reaction of women reading about themselves in her non-fiction writing.