Kay Hardy Campbell


Kay Hardy Campbell combines the sensitivity and curiosity of a writer and musician with the international perspective of a Middle East specialist. All these skills come together in her novel, A CARAVAN OF BRIDES, set in the world of Saudi women. Her novel is due out in September, 2017 from Loon Cove Press.

Writer: Kay is a feature writer with more than 20 years of experience writing about the arts, business, and Middle Eastern culture. She is a frequent contributor on the subject of the folk music and folk dance of the Arabian Peninsula, particularly Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries of the Arabian (or Persian) Gulf. Her goal as a writer is to give Western readers new perspectives on the Middle East, and to explore touch-points where cultures interact.

She began writing for publication in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the late 1970's when she lived there with her husband, a fellow Arabic student she met in college. She began contributing to the English Daily Arab News as a feature writer. With encouragement from risk-taking editors, she developed a feel for offbeat feature stories. She also used her ability to read, speak and write Arabic to cover many aspects of culture and traditional life little known to the burgeoning foreign community in the Kingdom. She expanded to write business stories for the weekly Saudi Business Magazine, including a 1980 groundbreaking cover story on Saudi women working. She later wrote for the Saudi Gazette, and the Saudia Airlines in-flight magazine, Ahlan Wasahlan.

Since returning to the U.S. in the mid-1980's, Kay continued to write about the Middle East and Saudi Arabian culture. In 1996 Kay wrote her first article for Aramco World Magazine, a well-received piece on Arabic Music. In 1998, Aramco sent her back to Saudi Arabia to cover the women's events at the National Folk Festival at Janadriyyah outside the capital city Riyadh. She was the only woman foreign correspondent at the festival. Her article appeared in the January-February, 1999 issue. In May, 2004 and 2006 she traveled to Saudi Arabia again on assignment for Saudi Aramco World Magazine. She has also written features and op-ed articles for the Quincy, MA-based Patriot Ledger.

Now a resident of midcoast Maine, Kay has expressed her love for Maine's woods and lakes, in pieces in Down East Magazine, Cabin Life Magazine and the Aroostook Review.

Public Speaking: Kay speaks and participates in panel discussions at colleges and universities, high schools and community groups. She lectures about the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, women in Saudi Arabia, as well as the music and folk dances of the Arab World. She has lectured at Harvard University, Tufts University, Bowdoin College, Berklee College of Music, the University of Minnesota, Wellesley College, Agnes Scott College and DePauw University. In 2010, Kay was honored to present The Joseph Hearst Memorial Lecture about the life of Saudi Arabia's Queen Effat at the Frank Church Symposium at Idaho State University. She also spoke at conferences on music of the Arabian Peninsula in Qatar (2014) and NYU-Abu Dhabi (2015). Kay also led an annual workshop on Saudi women's issues for the Junior Scholars at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, MA.

Business Experience:
Kay has 15 years of commercial banking experience at FleetBoston Financial Corporation and its predecessor companies including BankBoston. Kay was most recently a Director-Portfolio Manager in Fleet's Media and Entertainment Corporate Lending Division. She is adept at multifaceted financial and credit analysis, financial forecasting, negotiation, and conflict resolution. She has the ability to both lead and to be a part of diverse work teams in high-pressure, high-stakes situations.

Nonprofit Organizations: Kay is the administrative director of the Arabic Music Retreat at Mount Holyoke College. She is a cofounder of this annual week-long event alongside Executive and Artistic Director, Simon Shaheen. She is integrally involved in all aspects of planning and manages the actual operation of the Retreat each year. Kay is also on the board of directors of the Jawaahir Dance Company of Minneapolis.


BA, summa cum laude, Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Minnesota, 1977.

Master of Arts, Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, 1983.

MBA, Northeastern University, 1996.


Arabic, French, elementary Farsi