Nicola Sutcliff’s Queens of the Kingdom is published today by Simon & Schuster.

The non-fiction book features interviews with thirty Saudi women, each of whom share their stories: from world-renowned activists to wives in polygamous households; high-ranking princesses to desert dwelling bedouins. They talk about issues such as driving, sister wives, the religious police, under-the-abaya fashion, underground parties, and the practice of ‘purchasing’ husbands online.

How are you supposed to raise a child who is also your master?

 I don’t know what people think of us. I suppose they think we are very weak.

My name is Hoda Al-Helaissi, and I am not a terrorist.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most closed countries in the world. To separate fact from fiction, Nicola Sutcliff elected to go behind the veil for four years living, working and socialising in Saudi society. The resulting project, Queens of the Kingdom, aims to raise the voices of these women; to share their realities, dreams, frustrations and talents.

Nicola Sutcliff is a linguist, educator and writer currently residing in Paris. She graduated in Modern Languages and European Studies from the University of Bath and later achieved a Diploma in Freelance and Feature Writing from the London School of Journalism. Her professional interest in languages and transformative education has propelled her to live in eight different countries, including four years in Saudi Arabia.