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“Fatima’s Room” Uses Story to Raise Awareness of Women’s Issues

“Fatima’s Room,” by Charlotte S. Gray, is about a Sudanese girl’s fight for her life.

Set in Sudan, the book opens with Fatima being accused of killing her father. She’s held in a room inside her favorite uncle’s house while her family decides her fate.

Enter to win a copy of “Fatima’s Room” by publishing the tweet below. See giveaway details.

I've entered to win #newbook 'Fatima's Room' in the #FatimasRoomGiveaway. Click To Tweet

The story takes place in the 1990s before there were two Sudans. Fatima lives in Sudan’s north, in Khartoum, where Sharia law is practiced. Her fate rests largely in how her uncles decide to implement punishment based on Sharia law. Death is certainly a possibility for Fatima.

What will happen to Fatima is one question dominating “Fatima’s Room.” Another question is how this seemingly kind and gentle girl came to be accused of patricide. Did she really kill her father?Cover of "Fatima's Room" by Charlotte S. Gray.

Answering the latter question is one part of Fatima’s past that Gray uses to tell this story.

Indeed, much of the book’s action occurs in the time before Fatima became imprisoned in her uncle’s home. After all, this is a story set inside one room featuring one main character. And Gray does a wonderful job flipping between past and present to bring us up to speed while advancing the story.

“Fatima’s Room” is an insightful book by Gray, someone who lived and worked for years with girls in Sudan. The book successfully bridges the gap between Sudan and Western readers, helping us understand the challenges faced by individuals caught in one of the world’s most challenging struggles, that of Sudan.

Gray’s writing is efficient yet compelling. She adeptly puts you inside Fatima’s room and inside Fatima’s mind.

The Parallels of “Fatima’s Room”

Something else Gray does well is to draw a parallel between Fatima’s confinement by place and confinement by culture.

“Fatima’s Room” is the story of a girl being held captive, accused of killing her father. But it’s also the story of a girl being held captive by a culture that oppresses women.

The book begins as a story about a girl confined to a room. Before you realize it, though, you’re reading a story about a girl oppressed her culture.

Gray most visibly exemplifies this oppression with female circumcision. Fatima frequently reflects back to when she and others in her family were subjected to this barbaric act.

And Fatima frequently considers the broader question of how her culture treats women.

The Sudan of Fatima’s time is one in regression. The optimism of moving past colonialism has faded, a time in her country’s history Fatima is aware of through her grandmother’s experiences: “This was something Fatima’s grandmother always complained about: times had changed for the worse with all this religion and Sharia laws.”

How girls like Fatima are treated in Sudan is almost as oppressive as possible, but the book raises larger questions about the treatment of women in more modern societies.

Yes, readers of “Fatima’s Room” are asked to feel something for the women in countries like Sudan. But we’re also asked to consider how women are treated in societies with more modern views than those of Fatima’s Sudan.

Through “Fatima’s Room” we see the immensity of impact a culture can have on one girl’s life. After all, “Fatima’s Room” is the story of a girl caught in the swirling rapids of her country’s culture.

And that’s a story of universal impact, a story that’s replicated with varying details across the globe.

“Fatima’s Room” is available for purchase here or on Amazon.

“Fatima’s Room” Giveaway

I’m giving away three copies of Charlotte S. Gray’s “Fatima’s Room”. Here’s how you can enter for your chance to win a copy of the book:

1) Publish a tweet or Facebook post. Your tweet must contain a link to this blog post and the hashtag #FatimasRoomGiveaway. Your Facebook post must contain a link to this blog post, the hashtag #FatimasRoomGiveaway, and tag my Facebook page (@writerbarron).

Each tweet and Facebook post you publish that follows these rules counts as an entry into the giveaway. For example, if you publish three tweets that link to this blog post and contain the hashtag #FatimasRoomGiveaway, you’ll have three entries to win. In other words, the more you tweet and post, the more you increase your chances to win.

An easy way to enter the giveaway is to click and publish the tweet below. The deadline to enter the drawing is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Friday, June 16.

I've entered to win #newbook 'Fatima's Room' in the #FatimasRoomGiveaway. Click To Tweet

2) Subscribe to my newsletter. All subscribers to my newsletter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, June 16, 2017, will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of “Fatima’s Room”. This is part of my monthly book giveaway.

3) Check back next week. I’ll announce the third giveaway for a copy of “Fatima’s Room” on this blog next week.


  • You must be in the United States in order to participate in the giveaway. (And, if you win, you must have a valid U.S. mailing address at which you can receive a copy of the book.)
  • You can only win one copy of the book. That means three different people will win a copy of “Fatima’s Room”.
  • If your name is drawn to win a copy of the book, you will be contacted in the platform by which you entered the giveaway. For example, if you win the Twitter giveaway, I will contact you through Twitter.
  • You must respond within 48 hours of receiving my notification that you’ve won the giveaway in order to receive your copy of the book. Failure to respond within 48 hours will result in your win being nullified and another winner being selected at random.
  • Winners will be selected at random using The drawing will take place on Saturday, June 17, 2017.
  • Winners will receive one paperback copy of “Fatima’s Room” by Charlotte Gray by the United States Postal Service mail.

Best of luck!

Fatima's Room Book Cover Fatima's Room
Charlotte S. Gray
Arc Light Books
June 4, 2017

"Fatima's Room" is a novel set in Khartoum. Fatima is a young woman accused of an unimaginable crime. She is confined to her room while her uncles will decide her fate. Fatima fills the hot and worrisome days of waiting, by writing in her journal. She remembers the time before her imprisonment, and imagines what the future might be. All the while family members come and go, interrupting her reflection with various schemes: to reconcile--or escape.