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Leila Abdelrazaq is a Chicago-born, Palestinian author and artist. Her debut graphic novel, Baddawi, was shortlisted for the Palestine Book Awards. She is also the creator of a number of zines and short comix.
Elmaz Abinader is a poet, performer, and English professor at Mills College and co-founder of the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA). In 2000, she received the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award for her poetry collection In the Country of My Dreams. Her first book, Children of the Roojme: A Family’s Journey from Lebanon, was the first Arab-American memoir published by a major US press.
Stephanie Abraham was part of the editorial collective who founded the feminist magazine Make/shift and is a frequent contributor to Bitch. Her master’s thesis,“Hollywood’s Harem Housewife: Orientalism in I Dream of Jeannie,” is part of the Jack G. Shaheen Archive at New York University.
Jessica Abughattas is a Palestinian-American poet. She is an MFA Candidate at Antioch University and editor-in-chief of Lunch Ticket. Her poems appear in journals such as BOAAT, Stirring Lit, and Thrush Poetry Journal, and have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She lives in Los Angeles.
Amyr Adam is a Syrian-American writer and psychiatrist. He is studying fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He received a work-study ‘waitership’ and a Tennessee Williams scholarship, respectively, from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Sewanee Writers’ Conference. He is at work on a novel about an Arab-American therapist navigating within the insular world of psychoanalysis.
Sarah Alaoui is a PhD candidate in Middle East Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her focus areas include public diplomacy and storytelling, and how Arab communities can shape their narratives in the West. As a board member of the Washington, DC chapter of the Network of Arab-American Professionals, she organizes a regular creative writing workshop in the DMV area
Charlotte Karem Albrecht is a creative writer and poet, board chair of Mizna, and assistant professor at University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota. She combines creative writing with historical methods to understand how gender, sexuality, race, and class operated in the early Arab American diaspora.
Ali A. Alhajji is a Ph.D. Candidate in the English Department at Ohio State and a Lecturer at King Saud University. He is currently working on a dissertation project exploring the relationship between cross-cultural communication and reliability in contemporary Anglophone Arab writing.
Yasmine S. Ali, MD is a cardiologist and medical writer who has written and published across genres and formats. She is an award-winning poet and essayist, and has recently completed a debut novel. Her writing has appeared in Vogue, Real Simple, WebMD, Al-Hakeem, and The Tennessean, among others.
Lauren Alwan‘s fiction and essays have appeared in Zyzzyva, Alaska Quarterly Review, StoryQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review The NW Rev of Books, Catapult, The Millions, and the Southern Review. She is a prose editor at the museum of americana, and a staff contributor at LitStack.
Hala Alyan is a Palestinian American writer and clinical psychologist whose work has appeared in Poetry, Prairie Schooner and Guernica, among others. She is the author of three collections of poetry, the first of which, ATRIUM (Three Rooms Press), was selected for the Arab American Book Award. The second, FOUR CITIES, was published by Black Lawrence Press, and the most recent, HIJRA (Southern Illinois University Press), was selected as a winner of the 2015 Crab Orchard Series. Her debut novel, SALT HOUSES, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt this year.
Andrea Assaf is a playwright, poet, performer, theater director and cultural organizer. She’s the founding Artistic Director of Art2Action Inc. Awards include: 2011 NPN Creation Fund Commission, 2010 Princess Grace Award for Directing, 2007 Hedgebrook residency for “women authoring change,” and a 2004 Cultural Contact grant (U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Culture).
Ruth Awad is a Lebanese-American poet and the author of Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2017), which won the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of a 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and her work has appeared in New Republic, The Missouri Review Poem of the Week, BOAAT Journal, CALYX, Diode, and elsewhere. She won a 2012 and 2013 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Leila Awadallah is a Palestinian-American dancer and choreographer. She is pursuing a BFA in Dance with a minor in Arab Studies at the University of Minnesota. Her work researches how dance performance can work to break down, and rewrite mainstream narratives.
Dalia Azim is an Egyptian-American writer whose work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Aperture, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Glimmer Train (where she received their Short Story Award for New Writers), Other Voices, Alcalde, and Sightlines, among other places. Her first novel will be published by A Strange Object/Deep Vellum in 2022.
Barbara Nimri Aziz is the founder of RAWI, and since 1989, has featured Arab writers from across the USA and abroad on her weekly program TAHRIR. Her writings have appeared in several newspapers, magazines and anthologies.
Moustafa Bayoumi is the author of, among other works, the critically acclaimed How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America (Penguin), which won an American Book Award and the Arab American Book Award for Non-Fiction. His new book is This Muslim-American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror (NYU Press). He lives in Brooklyn.
Debra Beilke is a Professor of English and Chair of the Department of English and Modern Languages at Concordia University-St. Paul, where she teaches writing, Introduction to Literature, American Literature, and World Literature. Her research interests include Arab and Arab-American literature.
Leila Ben-Nasr is a Ph.D. Candidate in the English department at The Ohio State University. Her current dissertation project is titled “The Narrative Space of Childhood in 21st Century Anglophone Arab Literature in the Diaspora.
Ramla Bile is a Minneapolis-based writer. She often writes about racial justice, motherhood, Muslim-American experiences, and issues impacting Somalis in Minnesota. To pay the bills, she operates a communications and strategic development firm called Qalam Consulting (www.QalamConsulting.com) that helps local nonprofits, foundations, and small businesses amplify their impact.
Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán is the author of Antes y después del Bronx: Lenapehoking and South Bronx Breathing Lessons; and editor of an international queer Indigenous issue of Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Thought. Awarded 12 artist residencies, his work appears in 180 publications in 21 nations in the Américas, Africa, Arab world, Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Pacific.
Leila Buck is a writer, performer, and teaching artist working in the U.S., Australia, Europe, and Arab world. Her plays, In the Crossing and Hkeelee, have been performed at The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Lark Play Development Center, Chautauqua Institution, Brooklyn Museum, and others. Her work appears in Etching Our Own Image and Four Arab American Plays.
Lauren Camp won the Dorset Prize for her third collection, One Hundred Hungers (Tupelo Press, 2016), which explores her father’s childhood in Baghdad. She lives in New Mexico.
Hayan Charara is the author of three poetry books, The Alchemist’s Diary (2001), The Sadness of Others (2006) and Something Sinister (2016). He edited Inclined to Speak (2008), an anthology of contemporary Arab American poetry, and his children’s book, The Three Lucys (2014), won the New Voices Award Honor. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, he teaches in the Honors College at the University of Houston.
Tamara Al-Qaisi-Coleman is a biracial, black and Arab American writer. She is a graduate of the University of Houston with dual degrees in both english and history. She was, and is, especially interested in the subject of Middle Eastern Studies. She creates in a variety of genres and media. Her fiction publications include “Naming the Stars” in the 10th issue of Scintilla Magazine, “Akhira” in Issue 1 of Paper Trains Journal, “Gallery Blues” published in The Bayou Review: The Women’s Issue. Her essay “Dying as an Immediate but not Permanent Reality in Love in the Time of Cholera” can be found in Glass Mountain, Volume 21. Tamara is also a visual artist, her work has been published in Cosumnes River Journal, and Sonder Midwest Review. She was the creator of Shards Magazine, and maintained chief editorship for the inaugural through sixth issue of that publication.
Marguerite Dabaie is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist most known for The Hookah Girl and Other True Stories, was a comic autobiography about Palestinian Americans. Her comic in progress, A Voyage to Panjikant, is historical fiction about the Silk Road.
Susan Muaddi Darraj is the author of two short story collections, The Inheritance of Exile and A Curious Land, which won the Grace Paley Award for Short Fiction. She teaches in the Johns Hopkins MA in Creative Writing program.
Margot Douaihy, PhD, is a Queer writer, editor, and educator. She is the author of the books Scranton Lace and Girls Like You (Clemson University Press), and she serves as a Section Editor of Journal of Creative Writing Studies. Douaihy is a third-generation Lebanese-American with family roots in the Zgharta District of Lebanon.
Carol Fadda-Conrey is Assistant Professor of English at Syracuse University. Her essays on gender, race, ethnicity, war trauma, and transnational citizenship in Arab and Arab-American literary texts have appeared in a variety of journals and edited collections. She is the author of Contemporary Arab American Literature: Transnational Reconfigurations of Home and Belonging (New York University Press, 2014).
Laila Farah is a Lebanese-American feminist performer-scholar and Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Depaul University. She has toured presenting her one-woman show, “Living in the Hyphen-Nation.” She is active in organizations including the National Women’s Studies Association, the Arab American Action Network, and the International Oral History Organization.
Nouri Gana has contributed op-eds to The Guardian, El Pais, The Electronic Intifada, Jadaliyya and CounterPunch, and is the author ofS ignifying Loss: Toward a Poetics of Narrative Mourning (Bucknell UP, 2011), and the editor of The Making of the Tunisian Revolution: Contexts, Architects, Prospects and of The Edinburgh Companion to the Arab Novel in English (Edinburgh UP, 2013).
Nancy El Gendy is a doctoral candidate in the English department at the University of Oklahoma. El Gendy is finishing her PhD dissertation, “The Muslim Female Body in Twenty-First Century Arab American Discourse by Women,” where she is exploring various ways in which contemporary Arab American women writers deal with the social construction of dominant cultural mythologies and ideologies associated with the Muslim female body.
Malaka Gharib is an Egyptian Filipino American cartoonist, writer and journalist. She is the author of “I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir” and has written about her Arab heritage for NPR, The Believer, Saveur Magazine and Seventh Wave Magazine. Her book, zines and comics have been featured in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine and The Washington Post.
Mohannad Ghawanmeh is a multi-practitioner of the cinema whose scholarship encompasses Arab cinema, early/silent cinema, nationalism/transnationalism, media convergence, and censure/censorship. A recipient of the Teshome Gabriel Award and the Otis Fergusson Award in Critical Writing, Mohannad’s dissertation investigates the political economy of Egyptian silent cinema.
Adam Hamze is a first-generation Arab-American poet and journalist at the University of Texas at Austin, studying international relations and global studies. His work centers on diaspora, survival, and ancestry.
Hedy Habra is the author of a poetry collection, Tea in Heliopolis, finalist for the 2014 International Poetry Book Award, a short story collection, Flying Carpets, winner of the 2013 Arab American Book Award’s Honorable Mention in Fiction and finalist for the 2014 Eric Hoffer Book Award. Her multilingual work appears in more than forty journals and thirteen anthologies, including Blue Five Notebook, Nimrod, Drunken Boat, and Diode.
Kathryn Haddad is the founder of Mizna. A Playwright’s Center and Archibald Bush Leadership Fellow, and Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, and Minnesota State Arts Board Grantee, her plays, With Love from Ramallah and Zafira the Olive Oil Warrior, have been presented in Minneapolis, New York, and San Francisco.
Abdelouahab Hammoudi is a writer, screenwriter and filmmaker.
Shadab Zeest Hashmi‘s Baker of Tarifa won the 2011 San Diego Book Award for poetry. Her Pushcart Prize nominated poems have been translated into Spanish and Urdu. She is the winner of the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize and her work has appeared in Poetry International, Vallum, Nimrod, The Bitter Oleander, The Cortland Review, The Adirondack Review, Atlanta Review, RHINO, Journal of Postcolonial Writings, Spillway, and is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner and Drunken Boat, among other journals. She is a guest columnist for 3 Quarks Daily. Kohl and Chalk is her new book of poems.
Amani Haydar is an Arab-Australian writer and artist represented by Jamie Carr at The Book Group in the US. Amani’s writing and illustrations have been published in ABC News Online, SBS Voices, SBS Arabic, Sweatshop Women Volume Two and Arab Australian Other edited by Randa Abdel-Fattah and Sara Saleh. Amani is part of Sweatshop Western Sydney, a literacy movement based in Western Sydney. She is currently working on her debut memoir which looks at the personal and political dimensions of gender-based violence and intergenerational trauma.
Jeannine Hiba is a VONA/Voices fellow and holds a BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College. Her poetry has appeared in The Blueshift Journal, The Offing, and Animal. Her hobbies include stirring cake batter & patiently awaiting your book recommendations.
Darine Hotait is an American Lebanese writer, film director and the founder of Cinephilia in New York City. Her work focuses on bridging literature and cinema and giving predominance to the science fiction genre.
Sally Howell is Assistant Professor of History in the Center for Arab American Studies and the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She is the author of Old Islam in Detroit: Reimagining the Muslim American Past, due July 2014 from Oxford University Press. Her previous books include the co-authored Citizenship and Crisis: Arab Detroit after 9/11 (2009, Russell Sage Foundation Press) and the edited volume, Arab Detroit 9/11: Life in the Terror Decade (2011, Wayne State University Press). Her essays have appeared in numerous edited volumes and in Anthropological Quarterly, Diaspora, Food and Foodways, the International Journal of Middle East Studies, the UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law, and Visual Anthropology.
Amir Hussain is a Minneapolis-based poet, writing at the crossroads of natural and social environments. His poems have appeared in various literary journals, including Fugue, Mizna, Water~Stone Review, Midway, and Faultline. His poem “Anhinga” was winner of the annual poetry contest at Big Cypress National Preserve. He was awarded the Loft Literary Center’s Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant in 2014.
Happy/L.A. Hyder is a visual artist celebrating 45 years in photography & a published writer. In 2009, she scripted Bareed Mista3jil into a staged reading, since presented in the San Francisco bay area, Istanbul & Amman. This scripting, along with meeting members of Meem, the feminist group that produced the book, led to her first visit to Lebanon in 2010. She often talks about the iconic nature of photographs from ancestors, her responses to that visit, & her desire to return to Lebanon.
Ghinwa Jawhari is a Lebanese-American writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Her chapbook BINT was selected by Aria Aber as winner of the 2020 Radix Media ‘Own Voices’ Prize and will be published in March 2021.
Nadia R. Khansa is a Lebanese American writer, artist, and mental health therapistI. She is the author of “Breathing in Spring” and has had work featured in Muftah Magazine, and Herstry. In 2016 she gave the Tedx Talk “It’s Time to Talk about Trauma” and has continued to emphasize the importance of art and self expression as necessary parts of healing in her work and personal life. As a therapist she focusses on trauma, identity based violence, and is committed to helping clients find autonomy and confidence in who they are.
Adele Ne Jame is Assistant Professor of English at Hawaii Pacific University. She has published four books of poems, her most recent, The South Wind (2011). She served for a year as the Poet-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her honors include a Pablo Neruda prize for poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in Poetry and a 2016 Eliot Cades Award for Literature. As broadsides, her poems were exhibited in the United Arab Emirates International Biennial 2009. She is currently working on her new collection, First Night at the Beirut Commodore.
Randa Jarrar is the author of the novel, A MAP OF HOME, and the forthcoming collection, HIM, ME, MUHAMMAD ALI
Amira Jarmakani is an Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Georgia State University. She is the author of Imagining Arab Womanhood: The Cultural Mythology of Veils, Harems, and Belly Dancers in the U.S. (Palgrave Macmillan 2008), which won the National Women’s Studies Association Gloria E. Anzaldúa book prize. Her work has appeared in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, American Quarterly, andCritical Arts: A South-North Journal for Cultural and Media Studies, Arabs in the Americas,Arab and Arab American Feminisms, and Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora. She has a forthcoming book with NYU press, titled Romancing the War on Terror: Mapping U.S. Imperial Desires in Desert Romances.
Kim Jensen (ww.kimjensen.org) is a writer, poet, and educator, whose books include, TheWoman I Left Behind, Bread Alone, and The Only Thing that Matters. Her writings have appeared in many journals and anthologies and her recent doctoral dissertation includes a new novel called Forget Jerusalem. Active in the peace and justice movement for many years, Kim is associate professor of English at the Community College of Baltimore County and the founding director of the Community Book Connection, an interdisciplinary literacy initiative.
Fady Joudah received the Yale Series for Younger Poets prize, the Griffin International Poetry award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His most recent poetry collections are Alight and Textu.
Jacob Kader has experience writing, directing, and producing film, video, and theater. Food and Fadwa, his off-Broadway debut as co-author, premiered at New York Theater Workshop in 2012. He is currently developing work for stage and screen. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his family.
Poet (E-mails from Scheherazad, 2003) and novelist (The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, 2006),Mohja Kahf was just promoted to full professor at the University of Arkansas, where she has taught comparative literature and Middle East Studies since 1995, including a course in Arab American Literature. A signatory to the U.S. Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, Kahf has marched against the U.S. war on Iraq, and won a Pushcart Prize for creative nonfiction in 2010. Kahf’s activism in the Syrian Revolution has focused on nonviolence, nonsectarianism, noninterventionism, prisoners of conscience, and women.
Pauline Kaldas is the author of Looking Both Ways, The Time Between Places, Letters from Cairo, Egyptian Compass, and the co-editor of Dinarzad’s Children: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Fiction and Beyond Memory: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Creative Nonfiction. She was awarded a fellowship in fiction from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and has been a resident at the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Arts. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.
Nahid Khan is a Ph.D candidate in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, minoring also in Religious Studies and Museum Studies. She is the longest serving board member of Mizna, and her poetry and prose has been published in the Mizna journal. She also is a Collection in Focus Guide at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and is active in area interfaith dialogue activities. Prior to moving to the Twin Cities, she was a staff writer at the Moscow (Idaho) – Pullman (Washington) Daily News.
Taous Claire Khazem has toured her one woman play “Tizi Ouzou” to Portland, Seattle, Bemidji, Ann Arbor, and Washington D. C. In the Twin Cities she has performed with Theatre Unbound, Pangea World Theater, Interact Center, Off Leash Area, Frank Theatre, and Savage Umbrella. She is a teaching artist with SteppingStone Theatre, Children’s Theatre and COMPAS. Taous holds a certificate from the Jacques Lecoq International Theatre School in Paris, France and a B.A. from Macalester College.
Jamil Khoury is the Founding Artistic Director of Chicago’s Silk Road Rising. A theatre producer, essayist, playwright, and film maker, Jamil’s work focuses on Middle Eastern themes and questions of Diaspora. He is particularly interested in the intersections of culture, national identity, citizenship, and class. Jamil is the 2013 recipient of the Actor’s Equity Association’s Kathryn V. Lamkey Award for promoting diversity and inclusion in theatre, and the 2010 recipient of the 3Arts Artist Award for Playwriting.
Zahie El Kouri’s work has appeared in Mizna, Dinarzad’s Children: an Anthology of Arab-American literature, Ars Medica: A Journal of Medicine, the Arts, and Humanities, Memoir Journal, and Brain, Child: the Magazine for Thinking Mothers. She has a J.D. from Cornell Law School and an MFA from New School University.
Hiba Krisht is a writer, editor, and translator from Beirut. Her work appears in The Kenyon Review, Blackbird, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Mizna, among other journals. She is a recipient of the 2016 Rebecca Mitchell Tarumoto Short Fiction Prize from VCU/Blackbird, the 2013 JoAnn Athanas Memorial Award in literature from the National Society of Arts and Letters, and the 2012 Jane Foulkes Malone Fellowship in fiction writing from Indiana University. She has also served as Founding Fiction Editor for Rusted Radishes Beirut Literary and Art Journal and Associate Fiction Editor of the Indiana Review.
Tammy Lakkis is a writer, artist, and musician based in the Detroit area. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan where she studied English with a sub-concentration in creative writing.
Jameelah Lang is the Graduate Writing Specialist at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She was formerly an Assistant Professor of English & Creative Writing at Franklin College. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing & Literature from the University of Houston, where she served as Senior Nonfiction Editor for Gulf Coast and co-organizer for Poison Pen Reading Series. Her fiction appears or is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, The Cincinnati Review, Pleiades, and Witness, and she has received awards and fellowships in support of her work from Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, VCCA, and the Hub City Writers Project.
Zeyn Joukhader is a Syrian American writer and a member of RAWI. Her work has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Gulf Stream Literary Magazine, The Normal School, and elsewhere.
Jason Makansi’s fiction has appeared in Mizna, Dos Passos Review, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley (Southeast Missouri State University), and Marginalia (Western State College of Colorado). He is the author of three non-fiction books, as well as numerous essays and articles. From 1981 to 2000, he was an editor for a McGraw-Hill publication, serving for several years as Editor in Chief. He is the co-founder of Blank Slate Press.
Farid Matuk is the author of This Isa Nice Neighborhood (Letter Machine) and My Daughter La Chola (Ahsahta). New poems have appeared recently in Iowa Review, Denver Quarterly, The Baffler, and Poetry. His work has been anthologized in American Odysseys: Writing by New Americans (Dalkey Archive) and in the forthcoming Best America Experimental Poetry(Omnidawn), among others. Matuk serves as a contributing editor to The Volta and as poetry editor for Fence. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Arizona.
Phil Metres is the author of numerous books, including Sand Opera (Alice James forthcoming 2015), I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky (2014), A Concordance of Leaves (2013), abu ghraib arias (2011), and To See the Earth (2008). He is a two-time recipient of the NEA and the Arab American Book Award, and is a Creative Workforce Fellow in 2014, thanks to the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. He is professor of English at John Carroll University.
Janine Mogannam is a writer and librarian from San Francisco. She is a fellow of the VONA and Interdisciplinary Writers’ Lab workshops, and has performed with Still Here San Francisco. Her work has been published in several journals and anthologies, including Kweli, Eleven Eleven, and Writing the Walls Down, and she has been selected as a featured poet by Nomadic Ground Coffee.
Sahar Mustafah is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, a richly complex inheritance she explores in her fiction. Her debut, prize-winning collection CODE OF THE WEST is now out. Her short stories have been awarded the Guild Literary Complex Prize for fiction, a Distinguished Story honor by Best American Short Stories 2016, and a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. She is co-founder of Bird’s Thumb and has been teaching for over twenty years in Illinois.
Michael Malek Najjar is an assistant professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Oregon. Malek directed the world premiere of Jamil Khoury’s Precious Stones for Silk Road Rising and he is the author of Arab American Drama, Film and Performance: A Critical Study, 1908 to the Present and editor of Four Arab American Plays: Works by Leila Buck, Jamil Khoury, Yussef El Guindi, and Lameece Issaq & Jacob Kaderpublished by McFarland.
Ali Nuri was born in Diwaniya, Iraq in 1987. In 1990, Saddam Hussein attacked the city in the middle of the night, forcing thousands of Shi’a to make a painful choice: flee the only home they’ve ever known or face unspeakable torture. Together the families crossed the desert and awaited the processing of their asylum claims within the confines of a refugee camp located in Saudi Arabia. Subject to unsanitary conditions, thousands of people were crowded into a small enclosure without any facilities to accommodate their basic needs, their dignity, and their humanity. After four years, the family’s asylum request was granted and they moved to the U.S., residing in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana. His family moved from city to city, both nationally and internationally. Being displaced at a young age had left him torn between two cultures that heavily conflicted with each other and feeling as though he didn’t belong in his entirety to one or the other. During his teenage years, Ali started writing as a challenge to overcome his dyslexia and struggles with bilingualism, joining supportive online communities to connect with other writers and hone the voice he had spent his childhood silencing. He is now a poet, an author, and an artist. He holds a degree in urban planning and works in the technology industry in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Shannon O’Neill is a writer whose fiction and non-fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, Asian American Literary Review (AALR) and Mizna among others. She earned her MFA in Fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University and has an MA in Film Studies from the University College Dublin, Ireland
Dina Omar is a writer and Yale University medical anthropology Ph.D. student examining the development of mental health institutions and regimes in the Arab world. A founding member of Students for Justice in Palestine–National, and Student Teacher Poet with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People Program at the University of California, Berkeley, she has facilitated and taught English and writing in prisons, high schools, and universities. Her work appears in Jadaliyya, Al-Shabaka, Warscapes, The Believer, Mizna, and Yellow Medicine Review.
Therí Pickens researches Arab American and African American literatures and cultures, Disability Studies, philosophy, and literary theory. Her book manuscript, New Body Politics: Narrating Arab and Black Identity in the Contemporary United States (Routledge, 2014) asks: How does a story about embodied experience transform from mere anecdote to social and political critique? Her critical work has also appeared in Disability Studies Quarterly,MELUS, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Al-Jadid, Al-Raida, the ground-breaking collection, Blackness and Disability: Critical Examinations and Cultural Interventions, and the critical volume, Defying the Global Language: Perspectives in Ethnic Studies (Teneo Ltd).
Eman Quotah is the author of the novel Bride of the Sea (Tin House, 2021). She grew up in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, and Cleveland, Ohio. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Toast, The Establishment, Book Riot, and other publications. She lives with her family near Washington, D.C.
Etaf Rum was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, by Palestinian immigrants. She taught college English literature in North Carolina, where she lives with her two children. She also runs the Instagram account @booksandbeans. A Woman Is No Man is her first novel.
Nikki A. Sambitsky is currently pursuing her MFA in creative writing, specifically focusing on lyric/fragment essay (creative nonfiction) in the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA creative writing program. Mrs. Sambitsky holds a BA in journalism from Central Connecticut State University. She is currently working on her collection of lyric/fragment essays, which center on her family, her husband, and two autistic children. Her work has appeared in many publications including The Helix, Gravel Magazine, and West Hartford Magazine.
Khaldoun Samman is an associate professor of sociology at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He teaches courses on U.S. domestic and international issues concerning class, racial, gender, and global systems of power and resistance. His most recent book is entitled The Clash of Modernities: The Islamist Challenge to Jewish, Turkish, and Arab Nationalism.
Linda Dalal Sawaya (lindasawaya.com) is an LA born artist and writer living in Portland, Oregon and is the daughter of Lebanese immigrants. Alice’s Kitchen: Traditional Lebanese Cooking is her family cookbook of recipes seasoned with a generous amount of memoir. She illustrated two children’s books, designed and illustrated numerous book covers, and magazine stories, including several in Saudi Aramco World. She illustrated The Sweets of Araby (Countryman Press, 2011) and illustrated a story about two Muslim kids skateboarding in a new book for children titled Oregon Reads Aloud (2016). Her weekly food and garden column Mediterranean Cooking from the Garden was published for a year in ArabAmerica.com featuring what’s growing in her organic garden and what to do with it. Sawaya is a long-time member of ADC and RAWI and has made art for Middle East peace since her first trip to Lebanon in 1971.
Andrea Shaker is a professor of art at the College of St. Benedict | St. John’s University. She earned a BA from Georgetown University and a MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She grew up in a small New England town and is the granddaughter of Lebanese immigrants. As an Arab American, her work is informed by a tension between a lived understanding of home and an imagined sense of ancestral homeland.
Karim Shamsi-Basha is a journalist living in Birmingham Alabama. He just finished his novel, Cactus Pear, about a Muslim boy in love with a Christian girl in war-torn Syria. His blog, arabinalabama.com can be found on the Huffington Post.
Deema K. Shehabi is the author of “Thirteen Departures from the Moon” (Press 53), co-editor with Beau Beausoleil of “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” (PM Press), and co-author with Marilyn Hacker of “DiaspoRenga” (June 2014).She is the recipient of the Northern California Book Award’s NCBR Recognition Award for Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.
Mejdulene Shomali is a PhD Candidate in the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan. She received her master’s degree in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University and her bachelor’s degree in English and Philosophy from The University of Michigan, Flint. Her work has appeared in various journals, including The Feminist Wire, Arab Studies Quarterly, Social Justice, and Mizna.
Nevien Shaabneh is a Palestinian-American writer of fiction and non-fiction. She is a firm believer in the power of literature and the arts. She works with youth in inspiring expression and social action through writing. Her first novel, Secrets Under the Olive Tree, was published through Nortia Press in 2015. In addition to her writing endeavors, Nevien is a public speaker on matters relating to writing, the importance of story-telling, and amplifying the voices of minority women. Nevien continues to be an advocate for education and encourages young women to pursue their passions. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Education from the University of Illinois and a Masters in Arts from Saint Xavier University. She has taught high school Literature/Language Arts for fifteen years. She teaches her students and readers,“The best way to leave your mark on the world is one word at a time.”Nevien has finished her second novel and looks forward to publication soon.
Glenn Shaheen is the author of the poetry collections Predatory and Energy Corridor (both from University of Pittsburgh Press), and the flash fiction chapbook Unchecked Savagery (Ricochet Editions).
Jna Shelomith is a New York City transplant to the Midwest with deeproots in Morocco. Collective member of Mizna’s writing group for manyyears, she pays the bills by being an “oppression janitor” doing social justice work for local government.
Sahar Al-Shoubaki is an English Literature and Criticism PhD candidate and instructor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is writing her dissertation on Palestinian American women writers, where she is exploring themes like the homeland, return, memory, trauma, and gender relations.
Priscilla Wathington is a Palestinian American poet, mother and freelance editor, currently working with Defense for Children International-Palestine. Her work has previously appeared in Rosebud Magazine, The Baltimore Review and is forthcoming in Mizna. She lives in San Francisco where she is a member of Poets Across the Bay.
Sara Yasin is a Palestinian-American journalist. When she’s not yelling about her various hyphenated identities online, she works for BuzzFeed News as a News Curation Editor.
Kamelya Youssef is a poet, teacher, and organizer. A graduate of the University of Michigan, she is currently an M.A. candidate in English at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Paul Aziz Zarou, raised in New York by Palestinian immigrants, is a business professional and writer. His short story was published in the 2016 summer edition of Mizna. Arab Boy Delivered, Paul’s first novel, will be published by Cune Press in the spring of 2021.
Issam Zineh is a Los Angeles-born, Palestinian-American poet and scientist. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Clockhouse, Fjords Review, Mudlark, Nimrod International Journal, Poet Lore, The Seattle Review, Spectrum Magazine, and elsewhere.