A Year With Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Malala Yousafzai

In one of our conversations, Malala told me that she once went to the theatre — a show called Tom, Dick and Harry in Islamabad — and loved it, so I got tickets for Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

As it starts, she is wide-eyed. She jumps at the gunshot as the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears, and I hope it doesn’t trigger anything. A long and violent Shakespeare play may not have been the perfect choice — more than three hours is a lot for anyone to sit through, and both Malala and my son fell asleep. But they woke for the swordfight at the end.

Afterwards, she says she loved it. “I think it’s a good lesson,” she says. “Hamlet does to Laertes [killing his father] the same as what happened to him and it gets him nowhere. I don’t seek vengeance against those who tried to kill me. They were led the wrong way. I just wish I could have talked to them.”

She is way too wise for a 15-year-old.

One day in mid-April, Time magazine arrives with Malala’s face on the cover, as one of the world’s 100 most influential people. She complains she doesn’t like the photo.

Sometimes when I go to their house I notice elaborate bouquets. When I ask where they come from, they say: “Oh, Angelina Jolie was over for dinner,” or: “The ex-prime minister of Norway dropped in for tea.” The family visits London and is taken to see Boris Johnson. He leaves Malala slightly baffled. “He just kept saying, ‘What’s it all about?’ ” she says. In the paper we read she is favourite for the Nobel Peace Prize. My son is astonished. “How can she win?” he asks. “She’s always fighting with her brother!”

— From, “My Year With Malala,” Christina Lamb’s 2013 Sunday Times profile of Malala Yousafzai, who became internationally recognized after she survived being shot in the head by the Taliban. Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi shared the Nobel Peace Prize today in recognition “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

Read the story

Photo: Southbank Centre