Randa Jarrar


The fall after I graduated from college, I moved to Seattle to work as an unpaid assistant for the Egyptian feminist Mansoura Metwally. Mansoura is famous in certain intellectual circles in Europe and North America and has been notorious in Egypt itself since the ’70s, when she published a string of works—novels, books of criticism—that challenged patriarchal practices and landed her, several times, in jail. She had a shock of white hair and bad teeth, wore plaid shirts every day, and dressed from the waist down like a serf out of a Turgenev short story.

Cover Page Footnote

"How Can I Be of Use to You?" was originally published at Booth.