Rajaa Al Sanea (رجاء الصانع) is a Saudi dental graduate and author of the book Girls of Riyadh. Her bestselling novel is written in the form of e-mails and deals with the lives of four young, upper-class women living in Saudi Arabia. Her novel generated a lot of controversy, and was banned in Saudi when it was first published. Rajaa though, hopes to tackle serious issues with her writing:
"Q: Your novel mentions some of the problems that Saudi women face.
A: Yes. My concerns are identical to those of many other women in Saudi Arabia. In fact, I aspire to be the first to signal the beginning of change. These are social changes that are not connected to religion. This is why I am not anxious about discussing them through my writings. Silence is evil. I hate negativity and refuse to wait for others to act on my behalf. It is my duty to myself and to my children in the future. I fear I will mellow out with age and lose my motivation and courage, as has happened with others."
You can read the rest of this interview with Rajaa in Asharq Al-Awsat.
Such was the success of Girls of Riyadh, that it is now being made into a film, and the author nominated for the 2009 Dublin Literary Award.
Something that I personally, and I'm sure many others can relate to, Rajaa address keeping the balance between her profession as a dentist, and her love for writing, and says:
“I may be a good writer, but I’m also a very good dentist and that’s what I am going to be. It’s a part of my life that the public don’t know about,” she says, laughing. “I’m getting the highest results in my specialisation, root canals. Dentistry balances my life. Going to work knowing that you’re not famous puts your feet on the ground. Dentistry is my job and writing will always be my passion,” she says firmly, insisting that in her world it is perfectly possible to do both.
You can read more about Rajaa Al Sanea in this article from The National.