Nick Wood's poignant political drama A Girl with a Book is based on the true story of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafza. In 2012, gunmen stopped a bus in Pakistan and shot three young girls. Their crime? Wanting to go to school. Knowing nothing about the situation, able to offer little more than outrage, the writer is forced out from behind his desk and in the search for answers to help him tell the story of a brave young woman's fight for girls' education, but when his research uncovers attitudes at odds with his liberal convictions he has to face what he learns about himself.
Achieving international acclaim after its opening in Hamburg, A Girl with a Book e0xamines Malala's story through a series of questions, for instance, whether a middle-aged, middle-class white man could ever understand the world of a young Pakistani girl. Using quotes from Malala, the two other girls involved in the shooting and Malala's father, the writer's journey attempts to piece together the story and come to an understanding of the issues surrounding it. He speaks to members of different communities, his own wife and even imagines speaking to Malala herself. During the process Wood remains grounded in his stance as an outsider looking in, picking at the hypocrisy of how we can criticise the oppression of women in one culture but not another as he struggles with his own prejudice and privilege. He asks how a girl who wanted to go to school could become such a target.