There's a small but vibrant cottage industry of Muslim women writing romance novels, littattafan soyayya, in Northern Nigeria, a region best known for the acts of terrorist group Boko Haram. The writers face off with Islamic censors, and they sell their books in some of the same markets targeted by Boko Haram suicide bombers.
The books are about love and marriage. Some are subversive and speak out against human trafficking and child marriage, while others are submissive, advising women on how best to please their husbands, offering fantasies of escape and tales of the poor girl marrying the rich man.
Guided by the themes of these novels, "Diagram of the Heart" explores the romance, tradition, love, and loss in the lives of women in Northern Nigeria.
Glenna Gordon is a documentary photographer, editor, and adjunct professor at The New School in New York. She's been commissioned by the New York Times Magazine, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, and many other outlets. A recipient of a World Press Award in 2015, selected other awards include the LensCulture Grand Prize for Visual Storytelling, PX3 First Prize for Portraiture, the PDN Annual's Project Award and Book Award, and American Photo 30, 31 and 32.
Her monograph DIAGRAM OF THE HEART was released by Red Hook Editions in February 2016, (press release here) and was chosen by the New York Times Magazine, Pictures of the Year International (POYi), and PDN's Photo Annual as a photobook of the year. In fall 2016, she became a partner and editor at Red Hook Editions, and looks forward to helping other photographers make books.
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