This appeared in the Egypt Independent: Sophia al-Maria’s story begins at night, 80 miles outside of al-Hasa oasis in eastern Saudi Arabia. It begins decades before her birth, and thousands of miles away from the city where she will be born…. Read More ›
A forthcoming (December, insha’allah) issue of American Book Review will have a focus on Arab-American literature, curated by poet Philip Metres.
The Michigan-based Arab American Museum has announced the winners of the 2012 Arab American Book Awards, and — unsurprisingly — Diana Abu Jaber’s big and beautiful Birds of Paradise, which compellingly follows a young teenage runaway and her family, took the novel… Read More ›
There are two events in NYC this week related to Alia Malek’s Patriot Acts: One tonight at CUNY Graduate Center (6:30 p.m.) and May 5 at Cooper Union for the PEN World Voices Festival’s: “Life in the Panopticon: Thoughts on Freedom in an Era of… Read More ›
Last week, Egyptian-British-American playwright Yussef El Guindi took the prestigious 2012 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theater Critics Association (ATCA) New Play Award for his “Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World.” The Steinberg/ATCA recognizes the best American scripts that… Read More ›
It was only when novelist Randa Jarrar tweeted out a few short sentences in response to the New York Times Book Review that I realized how much I dislike the term “literary ambassador.”
Diana Abu-Jaber is most recently the author of Birds of Paradise, which is out this month, as well as of the award-winning memoir The Language of Baklava and the best-selling novel Origin and Crescent, which was awarded the 2004 PEN Award for Literary Fiction and the American Book Award.
It wasn’t a tremendously wide field—just 28 books were submitted to Arab American Book Award (AABA) judges—but the AABA’s four winners and three honorable mentions are certainly worth a look.
I do believe that poets can become too easily shackled to ideology.* A certain sort of political poem (the “Arab Spring” poem, the “confessional Western feminist” poem, the “confessional Arab feminist” poem) becomes un-surprising. It makes us fall into a deep, dreamless sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Yesterday in New York City, the group “United States Artists” announced their list of 50 fellows for 2010. Each fellow receives $50,000.
Among them was poet/translator/professor Khaled Mattawa.
If you’re looking for it, there are a number of places to seek out excellent Arab American poets. They are celebrated individually (Khaled Mattawa just won a major poetry award) and as a group, as in the most recent Banipal (38).