In recent decades, and even more so since the end of the 1980s, Arabic women writers of the new generation have created a new model in which the female “I” is at the center. In their works one has a sense of constant movement, stronger than in the past, between spheres of identity—the spheres of the spirit, aspirations, and dreams. These writings offer a view of the hidden worlds of women and afford a glimpse of their spirit and their lives, while attempting to forge new female territory by means of original and innovative thematic and stylistic elements.
Moving between Spheres: On the Voice of the New Generation of Arabic Women Writers is the outcome of the work of the research group titled Writings of Young Arabic Women Writers, which operated at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute between 2009 and 2011. The group’s participants, Jewish and Arabic women researchers in modern Arabic literature and the field of gender, focused on the works of nine leading members of the new generation in the Arab world: Zainab Hifni, Hadiya Hussein, Sharifa al-Shamlan, Haifaa Bitar, Fadila al-Faruk, Liana Badr, Ahlam Mustaghanmi, Samia Atout, and Rawiya Burbara. The articles examine the movement between geographical spaces and spiritual spaces and between imagined worlds and reality, while noting the tension between submission to social norms and resistance, rebellion, and outright criticism. The last of the articles in the book describes the process of their writing and, from a feminist perspective, how the four women writers who are Palestinian citizens of Israel—Maisun Assadi, Rajaa Bakriya, Inak Mawasi, and Rawiya Burbara—have been received by society. The second part of the book contains translations to Hebrew of several of the works discussed in the first part, translated specially for this anthology.