Iraqi women can draw on a rich literary tradition that stretches back to the dawn of recorded civilization at Sumer and Babel, and continues up to the pre-Islamic era and after the Islamic conquest. In Iraq, women were deprived of the right education; literature and debate were no longer part of their lives as they had been in the golden age. Women continued to find windows of expression in even the darkest periods, illustrated in poetry and songs produced for both joyous and sad occasions, at weddings and funerals, as well as religious supplications and popular tales. Iraqi women's literature continued to evolve throughout the twentieth century. If women writers started out with traditional poetry and naive fiction, they soon grasped the tools of their trade, advocated modernizing it, and broke the restraints surrounding it.
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