ALQ contributor Shahd Alshammari will be in conversation with Archna Sharma (Neem Tree Press) about her new memoir ‘Head Above Water’.
Shahd Alshammari is an Assistant Professor of English Literature in Kuwait. She is also the author of Notes on the Flesh (2017, Faraxa Press). The book was featured in many academic journals and was reviewed by disability studies scholars as well as gender studies scholars. Her essays have appeared in The Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Life Writing, Al-Raida, Wordgathering, and others.
Alshammari’s struggle with Multiple Sclerosis has propelled her to write about illness in the MENA region both academically and creatively. Her PhD thesis centered on madwomen protagonists in Western and Arab literature and later her interest shifted to women’s disabilities and illness and the lack of representation in literature and media. She was also an invited speaker at The Malta Book Festival as well as The Emirates Literature Festival.
Many students in the region follow Alshammari’s work and are able to relate to her struggles. Most of the lectures she has given involve university students and graduate students attending in order to search for their voices and experiences being represented.
Head Above Water takes us into a space of intimate conversations on illness and society’s stigmatization of disabled bodies. We are invited in to ask the big questions about life, loss, and the place of the other. The narrative builds a bridge that reminds us of our common humanity and weaves the threads that tie us all together. Through conversations about women’s identities, bodies, and our journeys through life, we arrive at a politics of love, survival, and hope.