Faqir was born in Amman and educated in Jordan and England. She gained her BA in English Literature from the University of Jordan, Amman, before going in 1984 to Britain where she completed an MA in creative writing at Lancaster University. She was awarded the first Ph.D. in creative and critical writing in 1990 by the University of East Anglia. She published her first novel Nisanit in 1988, which was about a girl and was set in Middle East countries. Her second novel Pillars of Salt was published in 1996, this was translated into many languages such as German, Romanian and Dutch. This book was also set in Arab locations and has women as strong characters. She published another book in 2007 My Name is Salma which was published in 13 countries and 14 different languages.
Fadia Faqir has been honoured with several awards for her invaluable pieces of work such as the ALOA literary award, which she received for the Danish translation of My Name, is Salma.
Fadia Faqir has mainly done all her work related to the females and the Arab community. Her book Pillars of Salt is considered to stand between East and West by critics. We see that not only her novels but her plays and articles like Al-Qaeda’s Kitchen and Arab Democracy Minus Women: Gender, Democracy and Citizenship in Jordan are also based on mainly the Arabic society and females in it.
In her book My Name is Salma where the story is about how a Arab woman is forced to flee to Britain after giving birth to a illegitimate daughter due to the fear of “honor killing” and even after going to Britain she faces racial discrimination and longs to go back home to find her daughter, we see how Fadia has strong social messages in her novels about really intense topics such as “honor killing”. We see how she has portrayed and always tried to show the pain and torture women are forced to face in the Arab community. This tells us that Fadia always wanted people to give more attention to this topic and felt strongly about it.
In Pillars of Salt we see how Fadia starts the story from a point of view of “the best story teller in Arabia” whereas the story is about 2 women who are in an asylum in Jordan. Although the story is not about them being in the asylum but about how they end up there just because they are females and stood against for something that a male in their lives wanted. This story was really strong in showing how females in the Arab area are mistreated and weak compared to the males.
In addition to this we see how Fadia takes political aspects of the world into her book like how in Pillars of Salt the Character Maha is deeply affected by the death of her husband due to the political war at that time. Though again we see that after she has lost her husband she is so vulnerable to pain and torture from the society.
Fadia Faqir also shows really social points in her story, like how in Pillars of Salt Um Saads life shows a strong social message of how women are miss treated by their husbands and are considered only as a tool. It also has a social message of how children forget what their parents have done for them and do not treat them right when they get old.
If we try to see the geographical backdrop in work done by Fadia we see that she has always set her novels and plays connected to the Arab area of the world. This shows us that she has always written things related to her birthplace as she was born in the Arab area (AMMAN). This tells us that Fadia was a writer who tried to portray problems and of the society through her writing.
Overall we see that work done by Fadia Faqir received a lot of recognition worldwide. We see how Fadia does not write a happy story or a tale but always writes related to serious topics of the society and economy like in all her novels and articles. The fact that all of her work is mainly related to the Arab area tells us that she is attached to her birth place and feels strongly about the situation there which might be due to her upbringing and the things she might have seen. We see that she was born in Amman but had even gone to the UK for studies (Lancaster University) so it is likely she had seen the difference between how women are treated so differently in these areas and this is what inspired her to write about them. In my opinion Fadia has created an mazing kind of suspense in Pillars of Salt from the beginning, she makes the characters come alive for the readers which completely involves the reader in the book making him feel the topics she chooses to show the reader even more effective.