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Girl With a Gun: A Teenage Freedom Fighter in Iran

By Diana Nammi and Karen Attwood

A gripping and moving first-hand account of one woman’s fight to change the world around her

Biography | Campaigns
104% funded
411 supporters

Publication date: March 2020

book cover
You made Girl With a Gun: A Teenage Freedom Fighter in Iran a reality. It's available in all good book stores now.
138 pledges


Ebook edition
Buy now

Sold out!

3 pledges

Your name in the back of the book

Support Girl with a Gun, without receiving a copy of the book.
$40  + shipping
170 pledges


1st edition hardback, ebook edition and your name in the back of the book
$55  + shipping
65 pledges


Signed 1st edition hardback, ebook edition and your name in the back of the book
$75  + shipping
11 pledges

Book bag

An exclusive, cotton book bag with a design based on the cover of the book. Plus everything in the Collectable level.
$120  + shipping
15 pledges

The human rights reading list

A copy of a book chosen by Diana from her own bookshelves, about issues around human rights, “honour”-based violence or equality, with a personal dedication. Plus a canvas book bag, the signed, 1st edition hardback, etc 
Numbers limited
$150  + shipping
4 pledges

Coffee with the authors

Learn about Diana's life as the first female frontline Peshmerga from her region in Kurdistan, and how she wrote her book with Karen.
Only five available
$165  + shipping
2 pledges

Gicleé print

A limited edition gicleé print of Diana with Pesherga fighters plus a signed 1st edition hardback, ebook edition and your name in the back of the book
Only 5 available
$225  + shipping
1 pledge

IKWRO True Honour Awards package

Two tickets to IKWRO’s annual True Honour Awards at a Central London venue. The True Honour awards are in memory of all victims of "honour" killings and also celebrate individuals and organisations who take a stand against "honour" based violence.
Plus everything in the Collectible level.
Travel and expenses not included
Only two pairs of tickets available
$300  + shipping
3 pledges

Book group - silver

Ten 1st edition copies of the hardback for members of your group. Plus your names (up to 10) in the back of the book.
Postage free (UK only)
$450  + shipping
2 pledges

Book group - gold

Ten signed 1st edition copies of the hardback, each with a list of questions to discuss and themes to consider, specially designed for book clubs. Plus your names (up to 10) in the back of the book and everything in the Collectable level.
Postage free (UK only)
$750  + shipping
1 pledge

Talk by Diana and Karen

An inspirational talk tailored to your school, company, book group or faith group, about Diana’s life story, the work of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, or empowering girls and women. Includes a signed, first edition hardback for everyone. Up to 20 people. Plus everything in the Collectable level.
Numbers strictly limited. UK only. Travel and expenses not included. Email here for more details.
$1,200  + shipping

Half day workshop

A half-day workshop, led by Diana and Karen and tailored to your school, company, book group or faith group, about Diana’s life story, the work of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, or empowering girls and women. Includes a signed, first edition hardback for everyone. Up to 20 people. Plus everything in the Collectable level.
Numbers strictly limited. UK only. Travel and expenses not included. Email here for more details.
$1,500  + shipping

Super friend

Be listed in a special section at the top of the supporters list at the back of the book, plus a signed 1st edition hardback and the ebook edition
Only five available
$7,500  + shipping
1 pledge


Your name printed in the front of the book thanking you for your contribution, plus five signed 1st edition hardbacks and the ebook edition
Only one available

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Diana Nammi became a frontline fighter with the Peshmerga when she was only 17. But this wasn’t always her fate. Originally known as Galavezh (Morning Star), she grew up in the Kurdish region of Iran in the 1960s and 70s. This was a time of cooperation and looking out for neighbours. It was also a world of forced marriages, with a woman’s value determined by her husband or male relatives.
But Galavezh was cherished by her father, who was a kind and brave man. At the age of four, she witnessed him stepping forward to save a woman’s life on her wedding day, when she was threatened because it was believed that she was not a virgin. From this act, Galavezh learned that one person can change the world around them…
This is the story of what Galavezh did next. She became involved in political activities while at teacher training college as a teenager and as demonstrations to oust the hated Shah swept the country, Galavezh began to play an active part in the Iranian Revolution of 1979, like many other students. But after the Shah was forced to leave, the new Islamic Regime which came to power supported no opposition, and Galavezh found she had no choice but to become a soldier in the famed peshmerga fighting force, after Kurdistan was brutally attacked. She spent 12 years on the front line, and helped lead the fight for women’s rights and equality for the Kurdish people. She became one of the Iranian regime’s most wanted.
Peshmerga literally translates as “one who sacrifices oneself for others”. The forces, including more than a thousand women on active duty, are currently fighting ISIS in northern Iraq. This is the unique and powerful account of a woman who fought with these troops, travelling across Iran and Iraq, standing up for women and girls and slowly but surely changing the world.
Girl With A Gun is also a story about family with a powerful love story at its heart.

Deeyah Khan, award-winning filmmaker and activist: “Diana Nammi has been an inspiration to me ever since I was first finding my feet as a women's rights activist. Her story is full of drama … At every stage, she has displayed extraordinary courage and reserves of emotional strength. The world needs to know more about this incredible woman.”


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  • Diana Nammi avatar

    Diana Nammi

    Karen Attwood avatar

    Karen Attwood

    Born in Kurdish Iran, Diana Nammi played an active part in the Iranian revolution before it was hijacked by the Islamists. At seventeen, she became a peshmerga fighter and was on the front line for 12 years. In the UK, she has been at the forefront of the battle to get ‘honour’ based crimes understood and prosecuted. She founded the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (IKWRO) in 2002.

    Diana is a sought-after expert on honour-based violence and speaks all over the world on the issue of women’s rights and equality including at the European Parliament, in Westminster and on broadcast media, including the BBC. She has appeared in the following documentaries: Banaz, A Love Story (2012); Saudi Arabia, Uncovered (2012).

    In 2012, Diana was named in a list of 150 women who shake the world by Newsweek and The Daily Beast. In 2014, she received the Special Jury Women on the Move Award from UNHCR and was recognised as one of BBC's 100 Women. In 2015, she won the Women of Courage Award from the Women's Refugee Commission in New York. In 2016, she received an honorary doctorate from Essex University.

    Karen Attwood is an award-winning writer and journalist with 17 years’ experience working on international and UK national newspapers and magazines. In October 2014 she was sent to interview Diana Nammi for the Independent on Sunday, and knew straight away that her life story would make an incredible book and film.

    Karen is a former staff writer at the Independent on Sunday, the Independent, the Press Association and The National, in Abu Dhabi, where she was on the launch team of the Emirate’s first English language newspaper. She has written extensively about women’s rights and gender issues and has won awards for a blog which documented her (now healthy seven-year-old) daughter’s treatment for leukaemia. She runs a media training business Nine Media, works for the international NGO Action Against Hunger and, as well as her time in Abu Dhabi, has lived in Japan and France.

  • Your wedding day should be the best day of your life but for Kurdish women, when I was a growing up, it was often the worst day imaginable.

    My earliest memory is of an arranged marriage between a bride, not more than fourteen or fifteen, and a groom twice her age. Ahmed was a huge man who used to work in my father’s bakery. He had pockmarks all over his face. Partially blind due to a childhood disease, he would scare all the children with his one glaring eye.

    It was the 1960s. I was not more than four years old but I remember vividly the dazzling beauty of the bride in her red and gold wedding outfit. Rana had long, shiny, black hair, delicate features in her bronze-coloured face and enormous black eyes, lined with kohl, which made them shimmer. She also wore a look that I recognised as fear.

    Like all Kurdish weddings at that time, the celebration lasted for three days. On the first day, which was like a hen night, Rana went to the hammam with her bridesmaids before having her hands and feet elaborately painted in henna. On the second day, the music began and the guests of the groom came together to dance. Three brothers, the Zizi brothers, who were well known in Saquez, the small city in the middle of Iranian Kurdistan where I lived, sang and beat a huge drum.

    The music was joyful, rapid and loud, as everyone held hands in a circle. The younger guests began to show off and move faster and faster. I felt dizzy just watching them. The guests took turns in leading the dance and I felt proud as my handsome father held a glittery scarf, a chopi, aloft to lead the dancers round and round.

    On the third day, the bride’s family brought Rana to the ceremony in a car through the city and her father handed her over to Ahmed, who was dressed in a traditional white shirt and dark blue trousers, known as a kava and pantol.

    The dancing and singing continued into the night and then suddenly, as though the lights had gone out, the atmosphere changed.

    My mother took my hand and we went into the dark and smoky bedroom. It was a messy room with the bedclothes all in disarray, with just one dimly lit lamp in the corner. I could see a long white piece of material lying on the mattress and a beautiful rug on the floor. In a corner sat the lovely Rana holding her knees and crying quietly. She was trying to cover herself with her long dress. Her long black hair tumbled all around her body.

    Ahmed was standing towering above the bride, his expression cold as ice. He appeared completely unmoved by his new bride’s distress. Rana’s mother was also down on the floor, holding onto Ahmed’s legs and crying: “Please don’t send her back home, her father and brothers will kill her.”

  • 14th May 2021 Girl With A Gun - a year since launch!

    It's been a year since Girl With A Gun was published and what a year! The day after our launch event at Waterstones Islington the world went into lockdown. We had some fantastic media coverage in the months after launch, such as these interviews with Diana in the i, Kurdistan24, and on BBC 4's Woman's Hour.  But understandably, a programme of speaking events we had planned last year, including…

    26th February 2020 Books on the way and launch event at Waterstones

    Hello everyone, 

    Diana and I are really excited that your books are on the way and you will be able to read Girl With A Gun very soon. Thanks once again for all of your support.

    For those with e-books you may already have them - check your emails for the download links. For anyone receiving hard backs, it would be wonderful if you could send us a message with a pic of your book on Twitter tagging…

    1st November 2019 Cover reveal and closing supporter list

    Diana and I are hugely excited to share with you our cover design by the brilliant Mecob.

    Furthernore, we wanted to let you know that the supporters' list closes this Sunday at midnight. This is the final chance for anyone to get their names in the back of the book - so if you know of anyone who would like to be a supporter of Girl With A Gun do spread the word

    We have completed our structral…

    8th June 2018 Girl With A Gun is 96% funded. Can you help us to the finish line?

    Fantastic news - we are at 96% funded. A huge thanks to our recent pledgers and even bigger thanks to our very first supporters who pledged a year ago now and must be wondering when they will ever get this book! We are planning to submit our manuscript to Unbound at the end of August with publication earmarked for next year.

    So help us get to fully funded so we can make this happen. Please…

    23rd January 2018 An extract from Girl With A Gun and new pledge levels added

    Now that we are at 82% funded (thank you so much for all of your support!) Diana and I are gearing up our writing. We have also added a number of pledge levels to help to get us to 100% funded, including five limited edition prints of this incredible photo above which shows Diana, in the centre, with a group of Peshmerga. 

    As a thank you for your support here is an extract from Girl With A…

    13th December 2017 Festive Greetings and we're almost 80% funded

    Diana with her younger sister in Kurdistan, Iran in the late 1960s.

    Girl With A Gun is currently 79% funded which is excellent news. If you can help us edge over 80% by telling your friends about the book, upgrading your pledge or by getting an alternative Christmas present for someone by pledging on their behalf that would be wonderful. 

    Now that we are so much closer to being fully…

    3rd November 2017 Girl With A Gun - We are 70% funded

    Today, we're sharing this beautiful photograph of Diana in Kurdistan, Iran, along with the news that we are 70% funded! Unbound tell us that all of their books that have hit 70% have gone on to fund completely so this is a huge milestone and really exciting. Please do help us to keep up the momentum by telling your friends, family and colleagues about Girl With A Gun and encouraging them to pledge…

    7th October 2017 Upcoming Funzing Events and 40% funded

    Dear Girl With A Gun supporters,

    We have a number of Girl With A Gun events that we'd love you to attend. The first one is on Wednesday, October 11, on Battersea Barge, South London. I will be interviewing Diana about her life as a woman on the frontline in Iran and Iraq and how she set up her charity IKWRO in London to campaign against honour-based violence. You can get tickets at this Funzing…

    30th August 2017 Girl With A Gun on Sky News, one third funded and Funzing!

    Diana Nammi has made an appearance on Sky News breakfast show Sunrise where she talked about her life as a peshmerga and our book Girl With A Gun. You can see the video of the interview here. 

    We've also been busy with a Funzing event - these are after work talks in London. Our event at vegan pub The Haunt in Stoke Newington completely sold out and we had an excellent audience who asked some thought…

    15th July 2017 One quarter funded, Sisterhood magazine interview and a pledge party!

    We have made it to one quarter funded which is excellent news. We are well on our way. Thank you to those who are among our first supporters. Getting from 25% to 50% can be one of the most difficult parts of crowdfinding as many people will not fund a project until it gets to the half way mark so it is vital to build momentum at this stage and not stall the campaign. You are now our key cheerleaders…

    17th June 2017 Thank you - almost 100 supporters for Girl With A Gun

    Dear crowdfunders,

    Firstly, a huge thank you for buying a pre-order copy of our book. We are at 98 supporters in just over a month and at 18% of our target funding level. We cannot do this without your support so do please spread the word about our book among your friends and family and anyone you think might be interested in Girl With A Gun, the story of Diana's early years, the Iranian Revolution…

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  • David Harris
    David Harris asked:

    Hi, I read about this amazing story on sisterhood. I would like to support but don't want my name to appear in the book. Is there a way to donate without a mention?

    Unbound replied:

    Hi David, Thanks for getting in touch. You can chose to be anonymous if you'd prefer. Please see here for details: Best wishes, Unbound Support.

    John Caboche
    John Caboche asked:

    Hi, I backed the "coffee with the authors" pledge level. I understand completely with COVID that this was not possible during the pandemic, however now we are emerging from the pestilence is this likely to happen in the future? Best Regards John

    Karen Attwood
    Karen Attwood replied:

    Hi John, Yes Diana and I would love to honour this of course now. Can you drop me an email and let's work this out. I'm on