A multitalented midwifery lecturer from Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Science is looking forward to the launch of her debut novel.
Senior Lecturer Alys Einion, who also has an MA and a PhD in Creative Writing, will launch Inshallah at Swansea University’s John Smith’s Bookshop at 1pm on Thursday 17th July with a question and answer session and a book signing.
Inshallah, which is published by Honno, tells the story of Amanda, who moves to Saudi Arabia with her young twin boys to live with her husband Mohammed. Her new life is strange and confusing, Amanda can barely understand Arabic and the treatment of the women of the family seems wrong to a girl raised in Wales. To add to her problems, Mohammed proves to be verbally and physically abusive. Somehow Amanda must escape, but not without her children. It is women who will be her salvation, despite the best efforts of the men who appear to rule over every aspect of life in the country.
Alys, who researched and wrote the book over six years as part of her PhD at Aberystwyth University, said that the story came from her own experiences and those of other women she knew. She said: “When I was 19 I made an inexplicable decision to marry someone unsuitable, and move to North Wales where everyone spoke Welsh and I didn’t. I found myself living a life in a social context I had little understanding of. I realised that women do make inexplicable decisions when I heard a friend discussing someone they knew, a mother of two children, who left her husband and children and married a Muslim and moved to Egypt, never to be heard from again.”
“I had read a lot about spirituality and women’s lives, and met a feminist Muslim who discussed the fact that wearing Hijab was liberating for women, not restricting. This led me to research Islam further, alongside Arabic culture. I realised that women hold a strange position in such a culture, and that we as outsiders have no idea about it. So I thought, what about a Welsh woman marrying into an Arabic family?”
Alys now hopes to have further work published. She said: “I am already writing another book, which is almost finished. I will be submitting it to my publishers soon and hoping that they like it enough to publish it too. I have wanted to have a novel published since I was seven years old, and have tried most of my life to write something that could be published. I am totally delighted that this is my first novel.
Writing this book has been a labour of love. I hope readers will see it for what it is, a story which will resonate with many women as they consider their choices and experiences. It is harrowing, moving and uncompromising, and it is the best thing I have ever written.”
- Friday 11 July 2014 12.58 BST
- Monday 15 July 2019 13.45 BST
- Swansea University