1906 First Women

Afifah Karam: Author of Badi’ah wa Fu’ad, Advocating for Solidarity among women

Afifa Karam (1883-1924) spent her earlier years in Amchit, Lebanon, before moving to New York, USA, with her husband at the age of fourteen. She was a contributor to the New York-based journal, al-Huda, and went on to become its editor at a later stage 1 2.

Karam published her first novel, Badi’ah wa Fu’ad  (Badi’ah and Fu’ad), in 1906, in which “for the first time in the history of Arabic fiction, we meet a woman advocating, in strong terms, the necessity of a general solidarity among women.” 3 Karam would go on to write two more novels, Fatimah al-Badawiyyah [Fatima the Bedouin] (circa 1908) and Ghadat Aamchit (circa 1910), 4 in which she denounced the forced early marriage of girls.

In 1911, Karam established started al-Mar’a al-Suriya,5 one of the earlier magazines dedicated and focused entirely on Arab women



Radwa Ashour, Ferial Ghazoul, Hasna Reda-Mekdashi, Arab Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide 1873-1999, 2008.

Jūzīf Zaydān, Arab Women Novelists: The Formative Years and Beyond, Albany, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995.

Emily Ibrahim Fares, الحركة النسائية اللبنانية, Beirut, Dar al-Thakafah.

Shakir, Evelyn, Bint Arab: Arab and Arab American Women in the United States. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Allen, Roger (1995). The Arabic Novel: An Historical and Critical Introduction. Syracuse University Press.