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Author to speak at Mercy Corps in Portland May 4, 7pm

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May 4th 2011, 7:00 pm — 8:00 pm

Hear writer Gayle Tzamach Lemmon talk about her newly released and highly acclaimed book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe.

"Gayle Lemmon’s riveting portrait of Kamila, told with grace, elegance and passion, captures the extraordinary tenacity and ingenuity of one woman. A powerful read that serves as a reminder that Afghanistan can never thrive until it embraces the active involvement of women -- with their resourcefulness, spirit and resilience -- in its leadership and future.
-- Tina Brown, Editor, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

Foreign policy expert, former ABC News reporter, and Harvard MBA Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reveals a side of Afghanistan we don't often hear about and introduces us to the “breadwinners in burqas," a group of women who became successful entrepreneurs against all odds.

The story behind the book grew out of a trip to Afghanistan in December 2005 when Tzemach Lemmon was assigned to write a story for The Financial Times and a case for Harvard Business School on Afghan women entrepreneurs. There she met Kamila Sidiqi, an unlikely breadwinner who had become an entrepreneur under the Taliban. Desperate to support her six brothers and sisters at home and banished from Kabul’s streets by the Taliban, she started a dressmaking business in her living room which offered work to 100 women in her neighborhood.

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon worked as a journalist for nearly ten years covering presidential politics and public affairs as a producer with the ABC News Political Unit and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." In 2004 she left ABC News to earn her MBA at Harvard, where she began writing about women entrepreneurs in war zones including Afghanistan, Bosnia and Rwanda.

Her reporting on this topic has been published by the New York Times Global Edition, Financial Times, Christian Science Monitor,, and the Daily Beast (where she is their regular reporter on Afghanistan). She also has appeared on National Public Radio, NBC “Nightly News,” MSNBC and "ABC News Now" as a policy expert on Afghanistan. She is currently a Fellow and Deputy Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

What: Writer Gayle Tzemach Lemmon talks about and reads from her new book The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe. Copies of Lemmon's book will be available this evening for purchasing through Annie Blooms Books; the author will sign copies after the event.

When: 7 pm, Wednesday, May 4, 2011. Doors open at 6:30 pm (enter through the Action Center doors).

Where: Mercy Corps Action Center, 28 SW 1st Avenue, Portland, OR 97204; 503-896-5002.