A Horsham author is set to mark the release of her new book with a meet and greet next week.
Joan Ward will be hosting an ‘Evening with Joan Ward’ at Waterstones, in West Street, Horsham, on Friday October 24 as she launches her book ‘Living with Arabs’ documenting the nine years of her life she spent living in Jordan.
The book tells about the struggles and oppression of woman in the country as well as highlighting the different culture and behavioural differences, which she has experienced first hand, of people living in Jordan compared to those in the UK and the Western world.
Joan said: “It is a story which begins through rose-coloured spectacles and moves to a gripping realisation of reality. The shocking, the funny, the heart-warming-it is all in there.
“There are stories of me being stung by a scorpion, killing snakes and me falling off a donkey and breaking my collar bone.
“It also reveals a world that is very different in which woman do not have equality and they do not have life choices.”
With the oppression of women and the cultural differences in Jordan that Joan has written about the country would not appear to be most people’s first choice to visit let alone live.
But Joan always felt a calling to the country and there was a part of her that knew she would end up living out there.
“I felt a calling to the mountains in Petra and thought this was my second home. It was my heart that led me out there.
“I rang up and asked if there were any jobs going out there.
“They got back to me and said we can offer you a job in the British Virgin Islands but you are to old to work in Amman.”
Joan managed to prove everyone wrong and flew out to Jordan where she spent two years in Amman as head of English at the International Community School.
In 2006 she took the decision to retire from her post but continued to live in the country until 2012 staying with the Petra Bedouin community in Um Sayhoun.
The author said that she learnt a lot from her experiences out there and said she hoped she left an impression on the people of the communities she met.
She said: “I never set myself up to be a one woman band. I was simply a person living out there. Over the years I started to notice that the women and men started to respect me. That was my small way of trying to help the woman.”
You can learn more about Joan’s experiences at the meet and greet next Friday which will start at 7pm.
The event is ticket only and they are available to buy in the store.