Riverbend is the pseudonymous author of the blog Baghdad Burning, launched August 17, 2003. Riverbend's existence and identity remain a mystery, but the weblog entries suggest that she is a young Iraqi woman from a mixed Shia and Sunni family, living with her parents and brother in Baghdad. Before the United States occupation of Iraq she was a computer programmer. She writes in an idiomatic English with, as James Ridgeway notes in the introduction to the Feminist Press edition of her work, "a slight American inflection." The blog combines political statements with a large dose of Iraqi cultural information, such as the celebration of Ramadhan and examples of Iraqi cuisine. In March 2006, her website received the Bloggie award for Best Middle East and Africa blog.
On 26 April 2007 Riverbend announced that she and her family would be leaving Iraq, owing to the lack of security in Baghdad and the ongoing violence there. On September 6, 2007 she reported that she has arrived safely in Syria. Her last entry was in October, 2007, until April 9, 2013 when she updated her blog with a post "Ten Years On", in which she said she was currently living in a third Arab country, and shared some reflections on what Iraqis had learned in the ten years after the Fall of Baghdad.
Her weblog entries were first collected and published as Baghdad Burning, ISBN 978-1-55861-489-5 (with a foreword by investigative journalist James Ridgeway), and Baghdad Burning II, ISBN 978-1-55861-529-8, (also with an introduction by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella). They have since been translated and published in numerous countries and languages. In 2005, the book, Baghdad Burning, won third place for the Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage and in 2006 it was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.
Baghdad Burning has also been made into several dramatic plays, mostly produced in New York City. BBC Radio 4 broadcast a five-episode dramatisation of her blog, "Baghdad Burning", on the "Woman's Hour" Serial, on each day from the 18th of December, 2006 until the 22nd of December, 2006.
- Baghdad Burning. James Ridgeway. New York: The Feminist Press at CUNY. 2005. ISBN 978-1-55861-489-5.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- James Ridgeway, Jean Casella, Riverbend (2006). Baghdad Burning II. New York: The Feminist Press at CUNY. ISBN 1-55861-529-6.
- "Blogger up for non-fiction award". BBC News. 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
- Malvern, Jack (2007-03-27). "Literary honour for Baghdad blogger". Times Online. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
- Krabbe, Alexander (2006-03-30). "Iraqi Blogger Nominated for BBC Prize". OhmyNews International. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- Baghdad Burning weblog
- Baghdad Burning, The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2005
- Baghdad Burning II, The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2006