Books of My Life: Shahd Alshammari on how literature saved her

Her memoir Head Above Water brings a crucial female Arab voice to conversations on disability and gender

In the fifth episode of Books of My Life season two, host Hareth Al Bustani interviews Kuwaiti-Palestinian author and academic Shahd Alshammari.

Alshammari has a profound relationship with literature – she credits it with saving her life. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at a young age, she has overcome great physical and mental obstacles to become a beacon of inspiration, strength and hope through extensive writing about disability and gender in the Arabian Gulf.

Her memoir Head Above Water shines a powerful light on the rarely heard non-Western narratives exploring illness, and she brings a crucial female Arab voice to the conversation.

In this episode, Alshammari discusses how the classics and Arabic literature drove a passion for life, the importance of destigmatising mental health and the need for more representation of people living with disabilities.

Updated: August 17, 2023, 7:45 PM