Forbidden Lies

DOCUMENTARY; 1hr 46min

DIRECTED BY: Anna Broinowski

True lies: Khouri

Did 35-year-old Norma Khouri concoct the story of her Jordanian best friend’s murder by her Muslim father in a so-called honour crime in her international bestselling 2003 memoir Forbidden Love? The book turned its persuasive writer-slash-Jordanian women’s-rights crusader into a celebrity refugee with a fatwa on her head. But in 2004, the heady bubble burst, with Forbidden Love exposed as a fraud by Australian journalist Malcolm Knox, and solid sources claiming the inaccuracy-riddled text is a total fabrication and its author by no means the woman she claims to be.


This lively unmasking of Khouri’s murky, ambiguous life by director Anna Broinowski does its Artful Dodger protagonist few favours. As the evidence mounts against her, Khouri remains steadfastly slippery and defiant — a squirm-inducing battle tactic that can’t help but make for addictive viewing. Truth or dare? For those who dwell in a thicket of deceit, the two can apparently be one and the same.