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Malu Halasa

November 8, 2023 @ 6:00 pm

Malu Halasa

discusses the new book

WOMAN LIFE FREEDOM: Art and Voices from the Women’s Protests in Iran

Edited by Malu Halasa

Published by Saqi Books

Mahsa Jina Amini’s death at the hands of Iran’s Morality Police on 16 September 2022 sparked widespread protests across the country. Women took to the streets, uncovering their hair, burning headscarves and chanting ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ – ‘Zan Zendegi Azadi’ in Persian and ‘Jin Jîyan Azadî’ in Kurdish – in mass demonstrations. An explosion of creative resistance followed as art and photography shared online went viral and people around the world saw what was really going on in Iran. Woman Life Freedom captures this historic moment in artwork and first-person accounts. This striking collection goes behind-the-scenes at forbidden fashion shows; registers the sound of dissent in Iran, where it has been illegal for women to sing unaccompanied in public since 1979; and walks the streets of Tehran with ‘The Smarties’ – Gen Z women who colour and show their hair in defiance of the authorities, despite the potentially devastating consequences. Extolling the power of art, writing and body politics – both female and queer – this collection is both a universal rallying call and a celebration of the women the regime has tried and failed to silence. This is what protest looks like.

Malu Halasa is the editor of eight anthologies on Middle Eastern art and culture. Her edited volumes include the critically acclaimed Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline, Woman Life Freedom: Voices and Art from the Women’s Protests in Iran and The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie: Intimacy and Design. Halasa has written for The Guardian, Financial Times and Times Literary Supplement. She was previously an editor at the Prince Claus Fund in Amsterdam, Editor-at-Large for Portal 9 in Beirut, Lebanon, and a founding editor of Tank Magazine in London. She is currently the literary editor at Middle Eastern arts magazine The Markaz Review.

What has been said about WOMEN LIFE FREEDOM

These writers and artists are real life heroes, writing in real time as history unfolds, letting the rest of us know how audacity is done. We need more of THIS!’ -Negin Farsad

‘This moving collection offers a clear understanding of why Iranian women are protesting for freedom and their rights. I found the book an emotional read, not just because the stories are painful or tragic, but because many of us resonate with them. These women are fearless, brave and utterly powerful.’ – Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

This event is made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation. To learn more visit: https://citylights.com/foundation/


November 8, 2023
6:00 pm


City Lights Bookstore
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