THE POETESS

Hissa Hilal is the voice from behind the veil. Her word is her weapon. We’ll never see her face. Like the majority of Saudi women, Hissa is covered from head to toe. She is not allowed to drive a car. She doesn’t own a passport and requires consent from her husband for any sort of activity. But then, coming out of nowhere Hissa made headlines around the world in 2010 as the first woman to ever make it to the finals of “Million’s Poet”, the Arab world’s biggest poetry competition, usually dominated by men. In her poems Hissa criticizes the patriarchal Arab society including one of the most notorious Saudi clerics for his extremist fatwas, live, in front of 75 million viewers. How did she gain the knowledge and the courage to step on stage and risk her life?

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