Arabian Queens and Bangladeshi Ammas

BBC Radio 3: Free Thinking




Arabian Queens and Bangladeshi Ammas


Shahidha Bari looks at the voices of women emerging from new writing in novels, plays and histories. Zenobia, Mavia, and Khadijah are Arabian queens and noblewomen who feature in the new book by Emran Iqbal El-Badawi, which looks at the way female rulers of Arabia were crucial in shaping the history of the region. Hannah Khalil’s new play at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the Globe in London imagines a writers room of women weaving the tales that will last Scheherazade for 1,001 nights. And, Abdul Shayek’s new production at the Tara Theatre in London is based on the testimony of women who survived Bangladesh’s war of independence, a subject familiar in the writings of Tahmima Anam, including her novel A Golden Age.

Queens and Prophets – How Arabian Noblewomen and Holy Men Shaped Paganism, Christianity and Islam by Emran Iqbal El-Badawi is published in December 2022,

Hakawatis: Women of the Arabian Nights is co-produced by Tamasha and runs at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe from December 1st 2022 to January 14th 2023.

Amma runs at the Tara Theatre in Earlsfield, London from November 30th to December 17th 2022.

You can hear Tahmima Anam discussing her latest novel about a tech start up The Start Up Wife in this episode of Free Thinking

On the Free Thinking programme website is a collection of discussions about women in the world from goddesses to Tudor families, women warriors to sisters, witchcraft to artists’ models

Producer: Ruth Watts