Industry: Culture and Society
Rajaa Al Sanea shot to fame in 2005 when her book, Girls Of Riyadh, was published in Lebanon. Two years later it was translated into English and before long was being nominated for awards across the globe. In 2009, it was long-listed for the Dublin Literary Award. It became a bestseller across much of the Middle East and continues to be popular across the world. It was, however, not gladly received by everyone.
In her native country, Saudi Arabia, it was immediately banned and there remains a distinctive divide in opinion of the novel, which was heavily critricised in the Saudi media. While Al Sanea is held as a role model by liberals, the conservative sections of Saudi society have heavily criticised the book for being unconventional. Al Sanea, who comes from a family of doctors, is now a practising dentist in Chicago. Rumour has it that she is currently penning her next novel.