November 6, 2020
Two female best friends take up arms against ISIS for their families…
Suzanne Strong’s novel Where the Sun Rises showcases the phenomenal courage and strength of the two Kurdish women who took up arms against Daesh in Kobane, Syria 2014-15. Where the Sun Rises tells the story firsthand from the point of view of the two main characters, Karin and Roza who join the battle on the border of Turkey, following traumatic events within their families.
Thousands of people fled Kobane, but a small number of Kurds stayed to fight. This battle was victorious and widely regarded as pivotal in leading to the demise of Daesh. It was predominantly fought by female militia, and these are the people Strong chose to write her novel about.
“I had been watching documentaries about these amazing women who were taking up arms against Daesh. They were ferocious, courageous and winning victories. I thought to myself, what if we could see this war through the eyes of women?”
“Then straight away I had the two main characters, best friends, a mother and a soon to be doctor. Their friendship is the focus of the novel, their courage, devotion to one another but also the dilemmas they faced in this war.”
No one had fictionalised the Syrian war from the point of view of these women soldiers, and Strong wanted to tell their largely untold story.
“I was fascinated by how we often see courage as a purely male quality. But this is not the case. I wanted to show the courage of these women I was learning about.”
In addition to this aspect, Strong wanted to explore the reaction of two best friends to the same battle, and how their friendship was the strongest bond and how this got them through even the most devastating events.
Strong conducted more than 2000 hours of research over three years, received support from the YPJ Kurdish Women’s forces, consulted with local Kurdish groups and wrote this novel for her Master of Arts. She travelled to the Middle East to look into the ravaged country from the Golan Heights border. The battle for Kobane lasted six months and two days.
“My novel highlights the courage, bravery, friendship and sacrifice made by these strong women. It is a story of two best friends who stand by each other through everything.”
“I want to bring the stories of these Kurdish women into the consciousness of more people; to shed light on the plight of the women who fought to remove Daesh which helped all of our countries.”
Suzanne Strong is a journalist and author based on the Sunshine Coast. She received RADF and Arts Queensland funding to support the development of her novel. Where the Sun Rises was a semi-finalist for the Screencraft Cinematic Book Competition in 2019.
For further information or to arrange an interview please do not hesitate to contact Suzanne Strong on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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