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Hey, How'd You Turn Your Freelance Work in Iraq into Sisters in War?

Initially on the ground in Iraq to cover education, this writer uncovered a book's worth of stories and struggles from the country's women

By Amanda Ernst - February 16, 2010

-Photo by Jack Fairweather
Christina Asquith was a 29-year-old journalist and author, living in New York and working on her first book, when the U.S. went to war in Iraq. "I had some advice from a friend of mine, which was, 'If you want to cover a war, just go. Don't wait for an editor to send you with a big expense account, because it will probably never happen,'" she explained. "So I decided to just go. I bought a ticket to Kuwait and I hitchhiked into Baghdad."

While working as a freelancer in Iraq, Asquith focused her coverage on education in the devastated country, but through her reporting she started to meet women whose stories she wanted to tell. So, she shifted her focus and began "gathering string," for what would eventually become Sisters In War: A Story of Love, Family and Survival in the New Iraq.

"I was talking to women, in some cases really getting to know them well and becoming really good friends with them," she said. "Most male reporters aren't even allowed to talk to Iraqi women in private, and here I was sitting in their bedrooms talking about very personal things. There was really another side to the war that I thought I should tell, because I could tell it."...

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