Friday, May 3, 2024

Q&A with Zainab Fasiki




Zainab Fasiki is the author and illustrator of the graphic novel Hshouma: Shame! Bodies and Sexuality in Morocco, which is now available in an English translation. She is based in Morocco.


Q: What inspired you to create Hshouma?


A: The crisis in Morocco over the female body and its related rape culture.


Q: Did you work on the text first or the art first--or both simultaneously?


A: Generally when I work, I write the text first, then I try to illustrate it.

Q: Time magazine said of the book, “Pairs the artist's playful illustrations with discussions of sexuality, gender-based violence, and censorship.” What do you think of that description?


A: It describes very well the content of the book that highlights the shame and censorship we feel toward our bodies and our expressions of desire.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book?


A: I made the book to be the perfect guide for teenagers and adults to understand well the topics that they couldn't talk about at school, with their families or friends.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I made my own Moroccan show about sexual education together with my animated drawings and, starting from September 2024, I will publish two new comic books that also highlight major topics about women and freedom in Muslim countries.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I hope the readers of the English edition of Hshouma will understand and appreciate many new ideas from the book about the culture of shame connected to their bodies.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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