Christina Lamb: Sewing Circles of Herat

In 2004 Colleen Connors interviewed British journalist, Christina Lamb, about her book, Sewing Circles of Herat. The book is based on a group of female writers who disguise themselves as a sewing group. Under Taliban ruling, it is impossible for women to write and discuss literature openly as much of the material is banned. Risking their lives, they set up what is known as the Golden Needle Sewing School so they can meet and discuss literature in secret.

The book is drawn from experiences from Christina’s time reporting the conflict between the Mujahideen and the Soviet Union in the 80s, and gained from speaking to women she met when she went back to Afghanistan after 9/11. It highlights the state of a country that has been ravaged by war for so long.

Many issues in the book, in particular the continuing struggle of women to gain an education, are still very much prevalent today as is exemplified by the recent shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old activist and outspoken critic of the Taliban’s repressive regime.

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