Genital Autonomy in Literature

Ombeni Ngonyani: Big Eight und Ukeketaji
“Die gestohlene Kindheit und Weiblichkeit“

In this book, author Ombeni Ngonyani tells a story influenced by what girls and young women from Tanzania have told her.

Published 2018 by Publisher Ombenis

ISBN: 978-3-947689-01-9

Jeffrey Eugenides: Middlsex


It all starts in a mountain village in Asia Minor. A young man and a young woman, brother and sister, flee from the Turks to Smyrna and, as the city burns, to America. It is 1922. They marry on the ship and later settle in the motor city of Detroit. No one suspects the secret of this couple, but decades later their breaking of taboos has unexpected consequences.


received the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 and was included in the BBC's selection of the best 20 novels from 2000 to 2014 in 2015.

Original Edition: “Middlsex”, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York 2002 (engl.)

ISBN: ISBN 0-374-19969-8

Waris Dirie: Desert Flower


Despite suffering female genital mutilation (FGM) at the age of five, and its life-long consequences, Waris Dirie escaped from her native Galkayo, Somalia, fleeing to Mogadishu to escape an arranged marriage. Moving with relatives to London, she worked for a while at a McDonald's and was discovered by chance by fashion photographer Terence Donovan. She continued via modelling in film and fashion to a stage where she was considered a supermodel. It was at this point that, with Miller, she wrote this autobiography. Shortly afterwards she became a UN ambassador for the abolition of FGM.

The book that describes Dirie's genital circumcision, her adventurous escape through the Somali desert and the rise to a world-famous supermodel, becomes an international bestseller and appears in over 50 licensed editions. Over 11 million copies have been sold worldwide to date, 3 million in Germany alone (number 1 on the Spiegel bestseller list from 11 to 17 January and from 25 January to 18 July 1999).

The fact that Waris Dirie elsewhere trivially refers to male genital mutilation as circumcision and proudly reports having it performed on her own son does not correspond to the demands of WWDOGA. However, since this topic is not addressed in the book "Desert Flower", the work as such can be seen positively in the context of the genital autonomy movement.

Original Edition: “Desert Flower” William Morrow Pub, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-688-15823-1

Adaptions: Film (2009), Musical (2020)

Gary Shteyngart: Little Failure. A Memoir.

Gary Shteyngart
This story of a boy who is tenderly called "little failure" by his parents because they love him dearly but don't quite believe in his happiness and success in life is a book delightfully rich in human insight and emotion - full of humour, even though the family doesn't have much to laugh about because of Hitler and Stalin and everyday hardships pile up like mountains. A touching and at the same time funny childhood story: gripping, masterful and - since it is Gary Shteyngart's own story - also true. This truth includes the detailed account of how his penile foreskin was cut off after his family immigrated to the USA: "To this day, I cringe at the sight of a bare razor blade. I know what it can do to an eight-year-old boy."

Original Edition:‎ “Little Failure. A Memoir.” Random House, New York 2014

ISBN: 978-0-679-64375-3

Lisa Braver Moss: The Measure of His Grief

In Berkeley, at his father's shiva, a Jewish doctor experiences a sharp groin pain for which he can find no explanation. So begins a series of events that will find Dr. Sandy Waldman railing against the one Jewish tradition that's still observed even in the most iconoclastic of towns and among the most assimilated of Jews: circumcision. 

In her witty, thought-provoking debut novel, Lisa Braver Moss interweaves Sandy's story with that of his wife, Ruth -- who will lose patience as Sandy lives and breathes the circumcision controversy -- and of their college-age daughter, Amy, who is contacted by her incarcerated birth father just as she's trying to sort out her future.

Sandy, a neurotic but also a visionary, deepens his understanding of Judaism even as he's jeopardizing both marriage and career with his anti-circumcision activism. Along the way, he's appalled -- yet intrigued -- by a curious online discovery: a local support group for men "restoring" their foreskins. Could this be Sandy's ticket to redemption—his way to win back Ruth, regain his equilibrium, come to terms with his heritage?

Original Edition:‎ “The Measure of His Grief” , Notim Press, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-453-72025-7