A Woman's Battle in a Man's World


By Zarifa Ghafari

By Hannah Lucinda Smith

Read by Ariana Delawari

Formats and Prices



  1. Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
  2. ebook $17.99 $22.99 CAD
  3. Hardcover $29.00 $37.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 11, 2022. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

 A moving and inspiring memoir by Afghanistan's youngest female mayor and campaigner for human rights.

I am one of the lucky ones.

I got out of Afghanistan alive when the Taliban retook the country. Millions of others did not – they are now living under one of the world's most repressive regimes, with any progress that was made for women over the past twenty years being brutally reversed.

Every day, I yearn for my motherland. Now it is my duty to make sure that the world knows what is happening to women there, and what we must do to
change things for them.

Zarifa Ghafari was three years old when the Taliban banned girls from schools, and she began her education in secret. She was seven when American airstrikes began. She was twenty-six when she became mayor – the only female mayor in the country – of Maidan Wardak, Kabul. An extremist mob barred her from her office; her male staff walked out in protest; assassins tried to kill her six times. Finally, they killed their father. Ghafari stood her ground. She ended corruption in the province, promoted peace and tried to lift up women, despite constant fear for herself and her family. When the Taliban took Kabul in 2021, Ghafari had to flee, narrowly escaping the country on one of the last flights out of Kabul  and finding refuge in Germany. 

Zarifa is an astonishing memoir that offers an unparalleled perspective of the last two decades in Afghanistan. Written with honesty, pain and ultimately, hope, Ghafari describes the work she did, the women she still tries to help as they live under Taliban rule and her vision for how grassroots activism can change their lives and the lives of women everywhere. 


  • “Anyone wanting to know the grim reality of being a woman in Afghanistan and trying to make a difference could not find a more illuminating book. Zarifa will break your heart.”
    Christina Lamb, OBE, chief foreign correspondent, The Sunday Times
  • “Zarifa’s words, like her life, are an act of courage, weaving heartache with hope. They illuminate all the things we take for granted, especially the ordinary moments, the daily freedoms, and most intimate of relationships. They illuminate the threads that connect our rights, freedoms, and happiness into an interconnected whole.”
    Shubhangi Swarup, author of Latitudes of Longing
  • “Ghafari tells her inspiring life story with sincerity and passion, providing a nuanced and, at times, horrifying glimpse into Afghanistan’s devastating history… A searingly honest, profoundly courageous memoir of one fearless woman’s fight for her homeland.”
    Kirkus, starred review

On Sale
Oct 11, 2022
Hachette Audio

Zarifa Ghafari

About the Author

Zarifa Ghafari is an Afghan activist, politician and entrepreneur. In November 2019, she became the mayor of Maidan Shahr, the capital city of the Wardak Province, Afghanistan. She is one of the only female mayors in Afghan history and the youngest – appointed at age 26.
As mayor, Zarifa became a role model to women in Afghanistan. She introduced an anti-litter campaign and made a special appeal to the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to safeguard women’s rights following the uncertainties posed by the Taliban USA negotiations. In 2020, Zarifa was chosen as an International Woman of Courage by the US Secretary of State.

Hannah Lucinda Smith is the author of Erdogan Rising: The Battle for the Soul of Turkey (HarperCollins/William Collins 2019) and is The Times correspondent in Turkey, where she has covered conflicts, a coup attempt, and the rise of controversial president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During her time in the region, she has also reported on the Middle East, from inside rebel-held Syria, on the front lines of the battle against Isis in Iraq, and joined the mass movement of migrants on their journey to Europe in 2015. She has also worked for the BBC, contributed to the Atlantic and the Spectator, and has been awarded a Pulitzer grant to write for Wired magazine.

Learn more about this author