Women and Crime: The Egyptian Women's Prison in Drama

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When the television drama series The Women's Prison (Sijin al-Nisā') was aired in Egypt during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in 2014 (covering thirty episodes, each around 30 to 40 minutes), it became a hit and attracted a huge audience (Fig. 1). This was partly due to the popularity of its major theme, which focused on women and crime through characters inhabiting the famous al-Qanatir al-Khayriyya women's prison, located on the outskirts of Cairo. Another reason for its success was the group of creative women who produced it: director Kamla Abu-Zikri, scriptwriter Maryam Na.um, art director Shirin Farghal, costume designer Rim al-'Adil, and director of photography Nancy 'Abd al-Fattah. Abu-Zikri and Na.um had collaborated on earlier works, most notably for their 2009 acclaimed film One-Zero (Wahid-Sifr) and the drama series Zaat, adapted from a famous novel of the same name by the veteran Egyptian writer Sonallah Ibrahim, which aired during Ramadan in 2013. Moreover, the key female role in both Zaat and The Women's Prison was played by the popular star actress Nelly Karim, guaranteeing high viewing rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-179
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Middle East Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


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