Twenty-two-year-old Maryam, a Saudi woman living comfortably with her parents in Medina, is old enough to get married and old enough to get a job. She is also old enough to pursue postgraduate studies in English in Leeds in the United Kingdom—but that option fuels her dilemma. Her hesitation to study abroad stems from the fact she is a devout and traditional woman, deeply dedicated to her Muslim faith. She is initially ambivalent about leaving the world she has always known. Even so, encouraged by her mother, an academic who also studied and lived in the West, she ventures to this new place and encounters both enriching experiences and a sense of displacement. What’s more, her sojourn in the West leads to a new set of decisions to be made. A story of contemporary women’s fiction, Road to Medina follows Maryam from the age of twenty-two, when she is deciding to apply to study in Leeds, to her eventual return to Saudi Arabia several years later.
Dr. Alaa Alghamdi is an assistant professor of English literature at Taibah University, Medinah, Saudi Arabia. Educated in Saudi and England, Alghamdi published his first book, “Transformations of the Liminal Self: Configurations of Home and Identity for Muslim Characters in British Postcolonial Fiction” in 2011. Since then, he has been a prolific writer publishing academic papers and articles in magazines and journals worldwide on the subjects of postcolonialism and feminism. This is his first novel.