Namesake: Reflections on A Warrior Woman

Namesake: Reflections on A Warrior Woman

Nuzha Nuseibeh

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'A wonderful book about the deep backstories and the tangled histories of N. S. Nuseibeh's own multiple identit[ies]' MARK HADDON

'Explores vulnerability, fragility, anxiety, and ambivalence as ways of beautifully coming to terms with the wounds and worries of the world' HOMI K. BHABHA

I may not be brave enough, but somewhere deep inside of me there is, perhaps, the kernel of someone who is.

That brave someone was the legendary Nusayba bint Ka'ab al Khazrajia, who fought alongside the Prophet Muhammad at the dawn of Islam, the author N.S Nuseibeh's ancestor. In drawing on Nusayba's stories, Nuseibeh delves into the experience of being an Arab woman today and in the distant past - taking her from superheroes and the glorification of violence to the rise of Arab feminism, to what courage looks like in the context of interminable conflict. By seeking to understand her namesake in the context of her own twenty-first century concerns, Nuseibeh links our current ideas of Muslims and Arabs with their origins, exploring myth-making and identity, religion and nationhood, feminism and race.

As intimate as they are thoughtful, these linked essays offer a dazzling exploration of heritage, gender and the idea of home, while also showing how connecting with our history can help us understand ourselves and others today.

N. S. Nuseibeh is a British-Palestinian writer and researcher, born and raised in East Jerusalem. Her interests include issues around identity, ethics, inequality, and education. She has previously written for The Atlantic and been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Namesake won the Giles St. Auburn Award—First Prize as a work-in-progress.



"At once vulnerable and intellectually rigorous, here is an illuminating and trenchant exploration of Muslim feminism . . . An essential read in the war against lazy stereotypes, cultural annihilation and every form of apartheid" -- DINA NAYERI ― Guardian

"A wonderful book about the deep backstories and the tangled histories of N. S. Nuseibeh's own multiple identit[ies]. She is self-deprecating and thoughtful and always interesting, a rare instance of a writer who seems to listen as much as she informs" -- MARK HADDON

"A wonderfully inventive blend of personal insight and contemporary commentary with Islamic history, myth and culture . . . Intuitive and profound" ― 
Big Issue

"A raw and dazzling essay collection about identity and how the personal is inseparable from the general" ― 

"A refreshing, timely read at a time dominated by anger and despair . . . [Nuseibeh] unapologetically considers her own life's struggle as enmeshed in structural violence, rightly placing the individual within a political context" ― 
Middle East Eye

"A thoughtful, insightful, recommended collection of essays on Palestinian experiences that connects history with contemporary societies . . . Nuseibeh dispels common stereotypes that many Westerners have about Palestinians, especially Palestinian women" ― 
Library Journal

"N.S. Nuseibeh conjures her diverse identities and interests to create a world that is free and hospitable . . . 
Namesake explores vulnerability, fragility, anxiety and ambivalence as ways of beautifully coming to terms with the wounds and worries of the world" -- Homi K. Bhabha

Namesake is a brilliantly written book that will enrich how you think about feminism, identity, connection and home. A collection of fascinating and rigorous essays, it's a generous, intimate invitation to reflect on the different ways we might understand ourselves and one another" -- Octavia Bright

"A masterful tapestry . . . Illuminating not only the layers of a physical landscape shaped by empire and colonialism, but of our mental landscapes of myth and story. Probing questions of identity, inheritance, faith, feminism and home" -- Erica Berry

"Nuseibeh deftly probes a wide range of topics - history, feminism, religion, culture, nostalgia, racism, violence, anxiety, illness and motherhood - in ways that are deeply personal, specific and nuanced . . . Perhaps most beautifully and importantly, Nuseibeh's writing demands of her what it asks of her reader: self-examination, honesty and grace. It's no small thing to achieve in writing something so deeply personal that also graciously extends to others" -- Dima Alzayat

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