Author(s): Waris Dirie
Waris Dirie, whose name means "desert flower", was born in Somalia of nomadic parents. She underwent extreme female circumcision at the age of five, and when she was 13 her father sold her into marriage with a 60-year-old for five camels, at which time she ran away. She was discovered by a fashion photographer in the United States whilst working as a janitor at McDonald's, and became a model who has been used to promote Revlon skin-care products. She also speaks on women's rights in Africa and travels the world to give lectures on behalf of the UN. This is her autobiography.
'Waris's story is one of remarkable courage. From the deserts of Somalia to the world of high fashion ... she emerges a real champion. She is the most beautiful inspiration to anyone' ELTON JOHN 'A story that traverses continents, spans worlds of human experience and human pain ... Waris Dirie was a victim once, but she never will be again' EXPRESS 'She was circumcised at five, fled an arranged marriage at 12, then became a Pirelli girl in her teens. Now, at twenty-eight, Waris Dirie is an ambassador for the UN. Her mission? To rid Africa of its most barbaric ritual' OBSERVER 'Dirie's story is an extraordinary one.' SUNDAY TIMES 'A mettlesome, contemporary Cindereall, her voice is as entertaining as it is inspiring.' THE TIMES 'This story will make you weep for what people are capable of doing to their children and fill you with admiration for one woman's strength.' IRISH NEWS 'Waris Dirie's story puts "rags to riches" to shame. The "Desert Flower" started life as one of 12 children of a Somali nomad family, a people with no written culture, where the basic unit of currency is the camel. Faced at 12 with the prospect of marriage to a 60-year-old man she didn't know, she broke all the rules and ran away, surviving a traumatic trek across the desert to end up in London, as a maid to the Somalian Ambassador. It was in McDonalds that her striking beauty was "discovered", leading to a career in modelling and another as an ardent campaigner against female genital mutilation (circumcision). As a novel it would be unbelievable, as Waris survives circumcision, rape, arranged marriage, a lion attack--you name it, she's lived through it. But the book is remarkable less for its deliberately dramatic set pieces, and more for its haunting evocation of the little-told life of Somalian nomads, seen from a child's telling perspective, where life centres on the beloved camels, the horrors of womanhood are still an exciting mystery, and the nights are filled with the smell of frankincense. Desert Flower is a recollection of such gentle beauty that "rags to riches" seems hardly appropriate.' - Alan Stewart, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW
Waris Dirie is an internationally renowned model and face of Revlon skincare products. She was appointed by the United Nations in 1997 as a special ambassador for women's rights to eliminate the practice of female genital mutilation. She lives in New York with her boyfriend and their son.