Manal al-Sharif to Discuss 'DARING TO DRIVE' Book at The Music Hall This June

Next month, The Music Hall will welcome to its Innovation and Leadership series the remarkable Manal al-Sharif, winner of the Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent at the Oslo Freedom Forum in 2012 and named one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" by TIME that same year.

Ms. al-Sharif will visit the Loft to discuss her fiercely intimate memoir, DARING TO DRIVE: A Saudi Woman's Awakening on June 15, 2017.

DARING TO DRIVE is the amazing story of this devout woman from a modest family in Saudi Arabia who became the unexpected leader of a courageous movement to support women's right to drive.

The 7pm event includes an author presentation and moderated Q+A, plus post-event book signing and meet-and-greet. It will be held at The Music Hall Loft at 131 Congress Street, in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

"DARING TO DRIVE is an outstanding memoir that will no doubt continue to ignite her cause," said Patricia Lynch, Executive Producer of Writers in the Loft and the evening's moderator. "Manal's passion for equality, for her rights and the Women2Drive movement is something to learn about and to celebrate with her. Her single act of defiance reverberated across a nation, and then the world. Along with our community partners, the New Hampshire Women's Foundation and World Affairs Council of New Hampshire, we are honored to welcome Manal to the Loft and to hear more about her work and her plans for the future."


DARING TO DRIVE tells the extraordinary story of how Manal al-Sharif became the accidental leader of the Women2Drive movement, which first stunned Saudi Arabia, and then the world, in 2011.

The memoir begins with Manal's childhood in Mecca where she was raised by committed, albeit strict, parents. In her teenage years, she found herself shift from a moderately observant Muslim into a zealot, pushing her radical fundamentalism onto others. But her views changed when, encouraged by her parents, she pursued her education and became a star pupil, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and becoming the first woman to hold a position in the Information Security division at Aramco, the Saudi national oil company. While there, she married and had a son. Still, despite her many accomplishments and responsibilities, she was forbidden to drive herself anywhere outside of Aramco's campus-despite owning her own car-simply because she is a woman. After learning the ban against female drivers is not actually a law, but rather only goes against Islamic custom, Manal decided to take a stand against this inexcusable oppression and uploaded to YouTube a video of herself driving around the streets of Khobar. Within hours, it had more than 120,000 views and positioned Manal as the public face of Woman2Drive movement. Two days later, she was imprisoned for "driving while female"-a charge for which many condemned her, but many others believed her to be a hero.

In DARING TO DRIVE, Manal tells her amazing story and what led to the Women2Drive moment and her role, now, as a leading women's rights activist. A testament to the extraordinary power of courage, education, and female solidarity, DARING TO DRIVE provides a rare glimpse into the day-to-day life of the typical Saudi woman, as well as the powerfully vivid story of one Muslim woman who stood up to a kingdom of men-and won.


Manal al-Sharif is a women's rights activist from Saudi Arabia who was imprisoned in 2011 for driving a car. She has been lauded by Foreign Policy, Time, Forbes, and the Oslo Freedom Forum. Daring to Drive is her first book.

The ticket package for Innovation and Leadership: Manal al-Sharif on Thursday, June 15 at 7pm is $40 ($38 members). In addition to a reserved seat, the package includes a copy of DARING TO DRIVE: A Saudi Woman's Awakening ($26 hardcover), a bar beverage, and book signing meet-and-greet. Packages can be purchased online at, over the phone at 603.436.2400 or in person at the B2W Box Office at the Historic Theater, 28 Chestnut Street.

In this Age of Participation, The Music Hall has expanded its programming to focus on issues critical to our time. The Innovation and Leadership series was first launched nearly five years ago to serve our local business community, bringing together the best and the brightest in technology. The series has since broadened to showcase opinion leaders, authors and all variety of educators, and to serve audiences from a tri-state region and beyond - all who are interested in bettering the worlds they live in, at work and at home, locally and around the world. These lively and informative conversations feature experts in their field sharing experiences and providing participants practical tools for making meaningful advances in their lives. From demonstrations in the art of all things digital to special forums featuring regional and global leaders in sustainability, from book discussion-demonstrations on the positive effect of meditation to awareness-raising events led by today's champions in philanthropy, feminism and family matters, each Innovation and Leadership event is memorable and impactful. The Music Hall is committed to community building and personal flourishing. Our Innovation and Leadership series delivers on that commitment.

The Music Hall is a performing arts center featuring curated entertainment from around the world in two theaters in its downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire campus - one, a landmark 1878 Victorian theater, designated an American Treasure for the Arts by the National Park Service's Save America's Treasures Program, the other the intimate Music Hall Loft around the corner, recently named "best performing arts venue" by Yankee Magazine and the recipient of the NH AIA award for design excellence.

With acclaimed signature series including Writers on a New England Stage - a partnership between The Music Hall and New Hampshire Public Radio - and the Intimately Yours music series, we bring top authors and artists to both stages. Also, HD broadcasts from The Metropolitan Opera and the National Theatre of London as well as extraordinary cinema fill both screens almost every night of the year.

This dynamic arts center urges patrons to Explore + Learn via master classes, post film panel discussions, and matinees for children. An anchor organization in this historic working seaport, The Music Hall is one of downtown Portsmouth's biggest employers and largest contributors to the regional economy: The Music Hall and its patrons contribute $7.1 million annually to the local economy through show and visitor related spending.

Innovative in its outlook, the organization is community oriented and committed to making the Seacoast flourish. The Music Hall is a 501(c)3 nonprofit managed by a professional staff with the assistance of a volunteer board. Though global in the scope of its artists and programs, The Music Hall operates independently with the support of 3,000 members, 300 corporate partners and 58 community partner organizations. Welcoming more than 100,000 patrons (including 20,000 children) each year from the tri-state area and beyond, The Music Hall is the region's center for the performing arts, literature and education...easy to get to, impossible to forget.

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