Reflections on A Warrior Woman

N.S. Nuseibeh

Namesake by N.S. Nuseibeh (Hardback ISBN 9781838852634) book cover

Available as Hardback, eBook

A collection of essays exploring what it means to be a young secular Muslim woman today by N.S. Nuseibeh, who reflects on her ancestor Nusayba, the only woman warrior to have fought alongside the Prophet

‘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.

“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

See more reviews

“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

N.S. Nuseibeh

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 Aubyn Award first prize as a work-in-progress.