LONDON — Since its inception in 2002, the Saturday Profile has aimed to bring to readers of The New York Times people around the world they probably have never heard of, but who have led interesting lives and done extraordinary things, or perhaps recently gone through a remarkable experience.
The people we look for usually do not run countries, or headline blockbuster movies, or write best sellers. We leave those to the appropriate sections of the newspaper. Our subjects are more likely to have just emerged from prison, or written their 1,547th novel.
Or, this year, to be women with a story to tell about abuse, sexual or otherwise — a couple of whom shared #MeToo moments in our pages. Carlotta Gall told the story of Henda Ayari, a French citizen of North African heritage and anti-Salafist activist who accused a prominent Oxford professor of raping her.
Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, a proponent of a “feminist foreign policy,” opened up to Ellen Barry about her abuse at the hands of an old boyfriend when she was a young woman, something she had never said publicly before.
erhaps my favorite profile this year was Kiki Zhao’s stirring depiction of the remarkable Yu Xiuhua, now one of China’s most read poets, a woman with cerebral palsy who lived most of her 41 years on a farm, writing at a low table. She never finished high school, and says she “could write before she could read.” Now, she is invited to places like Stanford University and fends off comparisons to Emily Dickinson.
So take a look. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading them as much as I liked selecting and editing them.
Manal al-Sharif is best known for challenging laws and mores that keep women down in her native country.
Emma Morano’s singular achievement in life may have been perseverance. She lived for 117 years, crediting her longevity to raw eggs and her lack of a husband. She died on April 15.
As foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, who broke free from a violent relationship in her 20s, is challenging assumptions in a traditionally male sphere.
Henda Ayari created a storm when she denounced radical Islam. Now, inspired by the #MeToo campaign, she has accused an Oxford professor of rape.