We're delighted to share that Christina Lamb's extraordinary new non-fiction book, My Body, Your Battlefield will be published by Arabella Pike of William Collins in the UK Commonwealth, Kathryn Belden at Scribner in North America as well as by the following publishers in translation: Mondadori in Italy, Penguin Random House in Germany, Companhia das Letras in Brazil, Ambo Anthos in Holland, HarperCollins in France and Natur & Kultur in Sweden.
My Body, Your Battlefield is an account of war through women’s eyes and an exploration of how rape became a weapon of mass destruction by Sunday Times writer Christina Lamb. The significant UK deal was negotiated by literary agent David Godwin. North American and translation rights are being handled by Susanna Lea Associates.
The book, as unflinching as it is passionate, tackles head on the growing number of stories of brutality against women from across the world, some of which have shocked Lamb more profoundly than anything she has seen in her 30-year career as a war correspondent. Whilst rape in war is nothing new, brutality towards women in conflict has increased exponentially in recent times. Ethnic and sectarian groups across the world now use rape as a strategy with women rounded up and incarcerated to produce offspring, a new generation of jihadis in a chilling real-life version of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
From Bangladesh in 1970/1 when as many as 400,000 women were strung up against banana trees and raped deliberately by Pakistani troops to breed Punjabis, to Bosnia between 1992-5 when 20,000 women were forced into sexual slavery in rape camps by Serbian soldiers; to Rwanda where, in 1994 an estimated 250,000 Tutsi women were raped, and the ‘rape capital of the world’ – Congo – where soldiers and rebels raped an estimated 200,000 women over the last ten years, often in front of their own children. Islamic State and Boko Haram have seized thousands of women as sex slaves, including Yazidi women and children, as well as the 219 Chibok teenagers abducted from their school dormitories, using these sexual slaves to lure recruits from the west. Fighters are told that raping them is their religious duty, not just spoils of war.
Though rape has been listed as a war crime since 1919, the developed world has shown little urgency to seeking justice for these crimes against women. Yet for the victims, these appalling crimes condemn them to a life sentence of mental and physical suffering and ostracism.
Motivated by the fact that if it is terrible to remember, it is far more terrible to forget, Lamb’s book will restore voices to the thousands of women brutalised by war rape and sexual slavery. Beginning with the Yazidi girls in asylum in Germany, the book will take the form of a journey across the world to attempt an understanding of why this is happening, what can be done about it and the incredible people who are trying to make a difference.
Arabella Pike said: ‘This going to be a hugely important book. Told with equal amounts of compassion and fury, the book will amplify the voices of the women and girls who have suffered brutality in war and be published to bring about change as the start of a campaign of recognition and justice.’
Christina Lamb said: ‘In all my years of covering war this is the hardest and most important subject I have ever reported on. We don’t seem to be able to end wars anymore, but, even when we do, for these women their suffering will never end. If we don’t face up to this we can’t change things. I have never felt more strongly that these stories need to be told.’
Publication is scheduled for 2019.
Christina Lamb is one of Britain’s leading foreign correspondents and a bestselling author. She has won 14 major awards including five times being named Foreign Correspondent of the Year and Europe’s top war reporting prize, the Prix Bayeux. She is the author of numerous books including Farewell Kabul, The Africa House, Waiting For Allah, The Sewing Circles of Herat and House of Stone. She co-wrote the international bestselling I am Malala with Malala Yousafzai and The Girl from Aleppo with Nujeen Mustafa. She is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an honorary fellow of University College, Oxford and was awarded an OBE by the Queen in 2013.