Born in 1970 in Jable, Syria, Samar Yazbek studied literature before beginning her career as a journalist and a script writer for Syrian television and cinema. She currently lives in Paris.
Yazbek was an active participant in “Women Initiative Organization”, dedicated to the defense of women’s and children’s rights. She was involved in “Liberties”, a center which defends the freedom of speech for journalists in Syria. She also was the editor of “Women of Syria”, an electronic magazine and free observatory that focuses on women, children and community in Syria. Such issues are at the heart of her literary work, and for this reason her books have been controversial and severely criticized by the regime.

In 2011 Samar Yazbek was the first to publish an account of the Syrian uprising’s first four months, In the crossfire: A diary of the Syrian revolution, where she carefully documented the protests and the repression, recorded valuable testimonies, and described her personal despair. In 2012, The book was awarded the PEN Pinter award in the UK and the Pen Tucholsky prize in Sweden. In 2013, the book was awarded the PEN Oxfam Novib prize in the Netherlands. The crossing won the “Best foreign book” award in France, and was shortlisted for the Medicis. The blue pen was on the third and final selection of the French Femina award.

The blue pen is on the longlist of the National Book Award 2021

In the press

“The winds’ abode”

“This is the tale of man coalescing with nature, of man as the offspring of nature… Yazbek brings his story to life in a very unique style ” — (Al Quds al-Arabi)

“Samar Yazbek has written an elegantly wrapped and powerful novel, with a fluid and subtle language, a slow pace and a translucent beauty” — (Independant Arabia)

“The blue pen”

“The young, mute narrator of this compassionate novel by the author of The Crossing becomes a poignant emblem of the Syrian women confined by war. ” — (The Guardian, 2021)

“Words can build a better world and repel ugliness” — (L’Express, 2018)

The “Grace” of Yazbek — (Le Monde, 2018)

“Did Samar Yazbek write our most important novel?” — (Forlagsliv, 2018)

“Powerful” “Poignant” — (Livres Hebdo, 2018)

Yazbek’s Blue Pen “crafts an original voice” “foreign and innovative imagery” — (Dagbladet, 2018)

“Ingenious character, and a literary approach on the verge of the unimaginable” – (GP, Sweden, 2018)

“The crossing”

“Formidable narrative” — (Le Monde, 2016)

“Comparable to Orwell” — (Le Nouvel Observateur, 2016)

“Colossal” — (Liberation, 2016)

“Remarable” — (Le Figaro, 2016)

“Indispensable” — (Adfonbladet, 2015)

“Yazbek is comparable to Svetlana Alexievich” — (SVT, 2015)

“Schocking, searing and beautiful” — (The Daily Beast, 2015)

“Powerful and deeply painful” — (The Times Literary Supplement, 2015)

“Crosses the line from journalism to high literary art” — (The observer, 2015)



  • The wind’s abode (2021)
Stock (France, to appear).
World Editions BV, English (The Netherlands, to appear).
Union Verlag (Germany, to appear).
Ordfront (Sweden, to appear).
Orlando (The Netherlands, to appear).
Green Books, Mayalam (India, to appear).

  • 19 women: Tales of resilience from Syria (2018)
Stock (2019, France)
Ordfront (2019, Sweden)
Sellerio (2019, Italy)
Nika-Centre Publishing House (2021, Ukraine)

  • The blue pen (2018)
Kristelight Dagblads (2017, Denmark)
Stock (2018, France)
Ordfront (2018, Sweden)
Cappelen Damm (2018, Norway)
Orlando (2019, Netherlands)
Pandora Publishing (2020, Romania)
World Editions BV (2021, Netherlands)
Green Books (2021, Malayalam / India)

  • The crossing (2015) 
Rider Books, Ebury, Penguin Random House (2015, UK)
Nagel & Kimche, Hanser (2015, Germany)
Ordfront (2015, Sweden)
Cappelen Damm (2015, Norway)
Stella Maris (2016, Spain)
Stock (2016, France)
Euthalia (2016, Portugal)
Karakter (2016, Poland)
Kastaniotis (2016, Greece)
Kristeligt Dagblads (2016, Denmark)
Ethir Veliyedu (2016, Tamil / India)
Walkers (2017, Complex Chinese, Taiwan)
Sellerio (2017, Italy)
Shanghai Translation Pub. House (2018, Simplified Chinese, China)
Prozart (2018, Macedonia)
Green books (2019, Malayalam / India)
Hakusui-Sha (2020, Japan)

Pandora (to appear, Romania)

  • In the crossfire (2012)

Buchet-Chastel (2012, France)
Haus (2012, UK)
Nagel & Kimche, Hanser (2012, Germany)
Nigh & Ditmar (2013, Netherlands)
Timas (2013, Turkey)

  • In her mirrors (2010)

Castelvecchi (2011, Italy)

  • Cinnamon (2008) 

Castelvecchi (2010, Italy)
Arabia books, Haus (2013, UK)
Buchet-Chastel (2013, France)
Ordfront (2013, Sweden)
Cappelen Damm (2013, Norway)
Nagel & Kimche, Hanser (2014, Germany)

[Updated September 2022]

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