Labibah Hashim: A pioneering writer, cultural salon hostess, and women’s periodical founder
Labibah Hashim was among the first pioneering women in Lebanon to publish women’s periodicals. The monthly periodical she founded, Fatat al-Sharq, was published from 1906-1929 (1)“دورية فتاة الشرق,” Women and Memory Forum, Website, available at: http://www.wmf.org.eg/publication/%D9%81%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%... (last accessed 22 February 2018), with some sources dating its first issue back to 1900 (2)Emily Ibrahim Fares, الحركة النسائية اللبنانية, Beirut, Dar al-Thakafah, p. 109.. The publication advocated for women’s liberation, and their right to education and political participation. Alongside the periodical, Hashim hosted a cultural salon at her house to discuss the issues raised in the periodical; the salon was a popular destination for writers, poets, and journalists, including Ahmed Lutfi al-Sayyid, editor of al-Jaridah (3)Jūzīf Zaydān, Arab Women Novelists: The Formative Years and Beyond, Albany, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995, p.52.. She also contributed to the growing literature produced by Arab women writers at the time. Her novel, Qalb al-Rajul (The Heart of Man, 1904), was a “major literary achievement” with regards to character development in women’s fiction (4)Jūzīf Zaydān, Arab Women Novelists: The Formative Years and Beyond, Albany, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995, p.68.. Her novel followed trends similar to the literature produced at the time, whereby the main plot drew on events from Egypt and Lebanon. In one of her commentaries, she said: “I deeply believe in the importance of the press because of its great influence on the life of the nation. In my view, it is the second school that nurtures attentive minds and refines the intellect". (5)Naguib al-Ba’ney, صحافيات لبنانيات رائدات واديبات مبدعات, Beirut, Nofal, 2007, p. 58.