Maqbula al-Shalak was born in Damascus in 1921 and was the fourth woman to graduate from Damascus University. She studied law unveiled and graduated in 1944. After graduation, she established herself as a leading short-story writer and children novelist, in addition to writing political articles in the periodical al-Tariq. During The Second World War she had lobbied heavily against Nazism, calling on women to leave their homes to stand up to Hitler, accusing him of being ‘an enemy of women, freedom, and culture.’ Shalak circulated the communist-backed Stockholm Peace Petition, calling for a ban on atomic weapons, gathering more than 60,000 signatures. She lobbied against US hegemony over the Arab world in the 1950s, clashing with the US Embassy in Damascus. She died in Damascus at the age of 65 in 1986.