Hanan al-Shaykh was born and educated in Beirut and Cairo. Her work explicitly challenges the roles of women in the traditional social structures of the Arab Middle East. Through her writing, she challenges notions of war and violence, sexuality, obedience, modesty, and familial relations. Much of her work has been translated into English, including, Women of Sand and Myrrh, The Story of Zahra, Beirut Blues, Only in London, I Sweep the Sun Off Rooftops. She has written four plays, the last one being “A Fly on the Wall” inspired by the barrier wall in Bethlehem. Al-Shaykh lives in London.