22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Mariam al-Saedi

Portrait Mariam al-Saedi
© Hartwig Klappert

Mariam Al Saedi was born in 1974 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. She majored in English literature at UAE University and has postgraduate degrees in urban planning from the American University in Sharjah and in Jerusalem studies from Aberdeen University in Scotland.

Mariam Al Saedi has published short stories since 2009. »The Old Woman«, published in the anthology »In a Fertile Desert. Modern Writing from the United Arab Emirates« (2009), tells of an elderly woman whose clothes have absorbed the smell of her sheep and old trunk she keeps her belongings in. She has never cared about her looks. She belongs to the generation of women who had a lot of children – her husband never once having seen her face, because, as she believes, it is the most shameful part of her. However, for her children, who are members of a new generation, she is a wellspring of shame. »The Old Woman« garnered Mariam Al Saedi third place at the Emirates Women Creativity Prize in Sharjah in 2008. This and other short stories were published in German translation in the anthology »Mariam und das Glück« (2009; tr. Miriam and luck), which was presented at the international book fair in Basel in 2009. In 2010, together with six other Arab writers, Mariam Al Saedi held a writer’s workshop in Abu Dhabi sponsored by the International Prize for Arabic Fiction with the aim of publishing the Arabic and English texts written during the workshop. In the 42nd issue of the literary magazine »Banipal«, dedicated to literature from the UAE, two of her short stories were published in English. Her collection of stories titled »Nawares Che’ Guevara« (2012; tr. The seagulls of Che Guevara) describe the search for self-development and personal freedom. It was nominated for the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.

Al-Saedi currently works for the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport and has written a weekly column on culture for »Al Ittihad« since 2010. She lives in Abu Dhabi.