Samar Yazbek (Arabic: سمر يزبك) is a Syrian writer and journalist. She was born in Jableh in 1970, and studied Arabic literature at university. She has written in a wide variety of genres - novels, short stories, film scripts, television dramas, film and TV criticism. She has made a documentary about the Syrian scholar Anton Maqdesi. In the past, she has edited Women of Syria, a feminist e-zine.
Yazbek has been a prominent voice in support of human rights and women's rights in Syria. Her debut novel, called Tiflat as-Sama (Heavenly Girl), challenged existing taboos in Syrian society. She is a member of the minority Alawi community, but is an opponent of the government of her co-religionist President Bashar al-Assad. She took part in the 2011 protests against the Assad government, and subsequently was detained by security forces and also banned from travelling outside Syria.
In 2010, Yazbek was selected as one of the Beirut39, a group of 39 Arab writers under the age of 40 chosen through a contest organised by Banipal magazine and the Hay Festival. In 2012, she was chosen for the prestigious PEN/Pinter Prize "International writer of courage", in recognition of her book A Woman in the Crossfire. She was awarded the Swedish Tucholsky Prize in the same year. In 2013, she received the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award to recognize writers who have been persecuted for their work.
She participated in the Syrian cultural caravan (2014–5).
- The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria (2015)
- A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution (2012 English)
- Cinnamon (2012 English)
- Salsal (2008)
- Tiflat as-Sama (Heavenly Girl)
- Profile in English PEN World Atlas website
- Beirut39 blog
- Samar Yazbek’s Damascene Diaries
- "A testimony from Syria", The Guardian
- "Samar Yazbek speaks up on Syria in an Italian magazine"
- Alison Flood (9 October 2012). "Syrian author shares PEN/Pinter prize with Carol Ann Duffy". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- Fred Geelen (February 22, 2013). "Oxfam Novib/PEN Award 2013". Oxfam Novib. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
- "The Syrian war: Divided country, divided narratives". The Economist. 11 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
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