DAWNS e-books are deeply reported and compelling narratives about global issues that deserve wider attention. They are about the length of a long magazine article and published as Kindle Singles on Amazon. 



When Shanoor Seervai first visits Mumbai’s red-light district as a young volunteer, she is shaken by the violence and despair that women there endure every day. Years later, now a newspaper reporter, she returns to gain a deeper understanding of the lives of sex workers.

Daughters of the Red Light is a searing look at the poverty, injustice and stigma that keep entire families from escaping India’s notorious sex industry. Seervai takes readers to Mumbai’s grittiest alleyways to discover the stories of these women and girls. As she unravels the brutal web entangling them, she finds an unexpected reason for hope.


Shanoor Seervai is an Indian writer and journalist. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast, Guernica Magazine, The Caravan and The Indian Express. Born and raised in Mumbai, she now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she is pursuing an advanced degree in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


“This is a meaningful and important piece of writing that contributes in a significant way toward understanding the lives of sex workers and their families and how we might help alleviate their marginalization and suffering. Shanoor Seervai’s book shows you the humanity of the mothers and children in the red light district, as she takes you on her journey of discovery into their world and her place in the world at large. It gave me new insight into the lives of the sex workers and their children, and how the tireless work of some offers real hope—the greatest gift of all.”

— Geeta Anand, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Cure

“Most writing about India’s underbelly treats people as passive victims. It is far too easy to find stories of misery in Indian cities and hold them up as one-dimensional examples of the country’s uneven progress. Shanoor Seervai does not do cutouts. She dives into the world of Mumbai’s sex workers, introducing us to real women with families and dreams we recognize. She brings the reader along for her journey, which is journalistic as well as personal, as she navigates the gender norms and class divides of urban India with sharp observations and true empathy. I’ve been visiting Mumbai all my life and feel I understand it better having read this heartfelt work.”

— Shashank Bengali, South Asia bureau chief, Los Angeles Times



Who Shot Ahmed? recounts the murder of a 22-year-old videographer, killed in cold blood in the dead of night at the height of Bahrain’s Arab Spring revolution. On a small island Kingdom swirling with political, economic, and sectarian tensions, Ahmed’s murder epitomized everything that had gone wrong since 2011, when pro-democracy protesters took to the streets in droves. Drawing on dozens of testimonies, journalist Elizabeth Dickinson traces the tale of Ahmed’s death and his family’s fearless quest for justice. Darting between narratives and delving into characters, it is a tale of a life lost and the great powers—from Washington to London, and Riyadh to Manama—that did nothing to stop the crisis. Dickinson has a deep knowledge of the region, but she brings a story from a foreign land straight back home: Ahmed could be any of our sons.

Elizabeth Dickinson is an American journalist based in Abu Dhabi. Reporting from five continents, she has served as assistant managing editor at Foreign Policy magazine, Nigeria correspondent for The Economist, as well as contributing Editor at World Affairs and correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor. Her work has additionally appeared in The National, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Washington Monthly, The Atlantic, and The New Republic. This work is based on her independent investigation and does not represent the views of her employers. Who Shot Ahmed? was edited by Sandra Allen.

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Who Shot Ahmed? is available for purchase via Amazon, Apple iBooks and every major retailer for just $2.99. For users who who live in territories not serviced by the big e-book retailers (like Bahrain) Who Shot Ahmed? is available for download via Smashwords.

What people are saying about Who Shot Ahmed?

“For those of us in the business of recording history as it unfolds, it is inspiring to read the sad but ultimately uplifting story that Elizabeth Dickinson offers up regarding a young Bahraini cameraman, Ahmed Ismail al-Samadi, who was shot dead by police during pro-democracy protests he was filming. Be it in Bahrain, in Egypt, in Syria, or any other zone of conflict and contestation, the role of the media is critical, and it should therefore come as no surprise that the person holding the camera to document events — for the record, for justice, for posterity — becomes a target. In telling Ahmed’s tale, with its bittersweet ending, Dickinson  reaffirms the continuity of recording history, despite a regime’s attempt to break it by killing the messenger.”

– Joost Hiltermann, CEO, International Crisis Group

“Elizabeth Dickinson captures both the tragedy and complexity of the simmering, sometimes explosive, unrest in Bahrain in recent years. Her portrayal of a brave young man and his family provides the human texture necessary to achieve deeper understanding of the broad political issues. While Dickinson wisely avoids proposing easy solutions to Bahrain’s problems, she highlights the challenges with admirable empathy and understanding.”

– Richard LeBaron, visiting senior fellow with the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, former US ambassador to Kuwait

“”Who shot Ahmed? ” demonstrates the multidimensional challenges draining the credibility of U.S. foreign policy in the Gulf.”

– Matar Matar Ebrahim, former Bahraini MP


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