Desert Flower by Waris Dirie

The incredible journey of a nomadic girl through the desert

Author: Sylvia Borissova

Translator: Donika Boneva

Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad (William Morrow Paperbacks, 2011) tells the true life story of Somali Waris Deery. The biographical book reveals in a shocking way the incredible power of a woman who, at the age of five, is deprived in a particularly cruel way of her femininity due to a local ritual. After many twists of fate, Waris conquered the world fashion podium and managed to become a symbol of femininity.

Barely twelve years old, Waris runs away from her family and leaves behind her naivete and childhood amid the grueling living conditions in the African wilderness and nomadic bivouacs. She crosses the Somali desert all by herself, without any accessories or personal belongings other than a tattered scarf, with no education or basic literacy that could more easily secure her a job. Thus, exposed to the constant risk of human abduction or attack by wild beasts, Waris finally arrived in the capital of Mogadishu.

But Mogadishu is only the first stop on her remarkable journey which Waris continues to London. After years of hard work as a maid in the British capital, Waris became a world-famous model and began traveling to the most beautiful parts of the world. The journey of her uncompromising spirit ends in New York, where Waris Dirie is dedicated to the cause of human rights as the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the United Nations to help other women around the world confront barbaric traditions and turn their lives into a good story.


Miller, C. 2011. Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad by Waris Dirie. March 15. URL: 

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