Established in 1993, RAWI is a national organization that provides mentoring, community, and support for Arab-American writers and those with roots in the Arabic speaking world and diaspora. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) literary organization dedicated to supporting and disseminating creative writing and scholarly writing by Arab/SWANA Americans and those from the Arabic speaking world–which often means creating space and highlighting voices and people threatened by erasure.
RAWI is committed to a hospitality that comes from a belief that our bayt is large. We are committed to creating a safe community space that opposes empire, white supremacy, racism, zionism, patriarchy, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and all repressive ideologies that diminish humanity. We are committed to nurturing writers to create works that aim for our liberation, resisting the orientalizing impulses of American and Western political and literary culture.
We put on readings, panels, workshops, roundtables, conferences, and festivals that emphasize inclusivity. Despite the fact that Arab-American/SWANA voices continue to become more prominent, opportunities for us to share our experiences and insights, as well as to discuss the trajectory of our community’s literature, is limited. Therefore, RAWI’s gatherings provide a rare opportunity to bring a large number of Arab-American/SWANA writers, artists, and scholars (and their readers, allies, and admirers) into the same space so we can engage in various dialogues otherwise unavailable to us.
Who Are RAWI’s Members?
Members of RAWI include Naomi Shihab Nye, Lawrence Joseph, Suheir Hammad, Laila Lalami, Randa Jarrar, Khaled Mattawa, Mohja Kahf, Fady Joudah, Etel Adnan, Steven Salaita, Sam Hazo, Rabih Alameddine, Elmaz Abinader, and many more.
RAWI’s members have been featured in Salon, The Huffington Post, NPR, Guernica, PMLA (the journal of the Modern Language Association), and elsewhere. Our members have also been recognized by the Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim, and the National Endowment for the Arts, The MacArthur Prize, as well as many state and regional arts associations and councils.