In this roundtable panel, held on 5 May, Amal Awad was joined by Joumanah El Matrah (CAAR Board Member, CEO of the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights) and Dr Raihan Ismail (Lecturer at CAIS). The panel discussed the importance of recording Arab women’s voices, of how place and identity affect Arab women, and its relevance in western societies. The session was chaired by Dr Jeremy Farrall from the College of Asia and the Pacific.
This event was supported by CAAR, the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) and ANU.
Amal Awad was tired of seeing books that explored the lives of Arab women from a western perspective. She set out to interview women of Arab heritage from both the Middle East and in Australia, as a Palestinian-Australian woman herself.
Amal Awad talks about the fascination with Arab women and their lives; the misconceptions that abound; and how Arab women respond in her upcoming book, Beyond Veiled Clichés – The Real Lives of Arab Women.
Amal Awad is a Sydney-based journalist, author, and screenwriter. She abandoned her career as a lawyer early in her practice to pursue writing. Amal is a screenwriting graduate of AFTRS, and a regular contributor to SBS Life. She has written for such publications as ELLE and Frankie, and online portals Daily Life, The Vine, Sheilas and Junkee. Amal has also worked as a producer for ABC Radio National, which included producing and presenting segments that explored experiences of multiculturalism and religion.
Amal’s debut novel, Courting Samira (2010), was a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. She is also the author of the novel, This Is How You Get Better (2015) and a collection of columns and essays, The Incidental Muslim (2014). Amal also contributed to the anthology Coming of Age: Growing up Muslim in Australia (2014). Her next book, Beyond Veiled Clichés, explores the lives of Arab women.
The Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR), which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, supported Amal’s international travel to interview many of the women featured in her book.