Survival is hard in a land where no woman can live alone
Layla is just thirteen when the men with the beards and guns burn down her beloved father’s school and begin to terrorise the Swat valley region of Pakistan.
She has to flee, exchanging the tranquil beauty of the Himalayas for the squalor of a camp for refugees from the Taliban near Peshawar. With her life torn apart by tragedy, Layla must choose between the old fashioned way of life with her family - or a journey into independence which could threaten her very survival.
Trying to find out what lies behind mysterious deaths at the camp is foreign correspondent Ellen Thomas. As a strong woman in a man’s world, Ellen is used to risking her life to uncover the truth. United by the gentle schoolteacher who had risked his life to save books, the paths of Layla and Ellen collide in a common cause.
About the Author
Jill has covered foreign news for the BBC for almost twenty years and appeared on all the BBC’s main radio and television news outlets. Her foreign postings as a BBC Correspondent include Hongkong, Delhi (South Asia Correspondent) and Washington (State Department Correspondent). She has also written for The Times and The Financial Times.
Now based in London for the BBC, Jill travels on assignment worldwide. She’s covered a broad range of conflicts, including Iraq, but specialises in Asia, providing news, documentaries and analysis for the BBC. She’s visited Afghanistan regularly since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and been embedded with British troops in Helmand Province.
In recent years, she’s focused on the escalation of violence in Pakistan, political and social change in China and India’s Maoist insurgency (which led to her living for several days with armed Maoist rebels in the Indian jungle.)
She has broadcast several acclaimed investigations into international crime, including sex trafficking and fake medicines.
Jill has been a regular contributor to Radio Four’s flagship programme, “From Our Own Correspondent” for many years. Several of her pieces are published in the programme’s print anthologies.
Her recent radio documentary on maternal mortality in Pakistan, “DYING TO GIVE BIRTH”, has been shortlisted for two national journalism awards (Amnesty International and the One World media awards.)