Speakers + Performers

Rasha Abdulhadi is a queer Palestinian Southerner who cut their teeth organizing on the southsides of Chicago and Atlanta. As a fiber artist, poet, and speculative fiction writer/editor, Rasha is a member of Justice for Muslims Collective and Alternate ROOTS. Their new chapbook is who is owed springtime (Neon Hemlock).
Andrea Abi-Karam is a trans, arab-american punk poet-performer cyborg. They are the author of EXTRATRANSMISSION (Kelsey Street Press, 2019) a critique of the U.S. military’s role in the War on Terror, Villainy (Nightboat Books, September 2021), and with Kay Gabriel, they co-edited We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics (Nightboat Books, 2020). They are a Leo obsessed with queer terror and convertibles.
Sara Abou Rashed is a Palestinian-American poet and speaker from Columbus, Ohio. A Pushcart nominee, her works appear in over twelve publications. In 2018, Sara created an autobiographical one-woman show titled, A Map of Myself, about identity, war, and immigration. This fall, she’ll be starting her MFA at the University of Michigan.
Jessica Abughattas’s debut collection, Strip, won the 2020 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize. She lives in Los Angeles.
Maha Ahmed holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon. Her work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, 580 Split, Rusted Radishes, The Recluse, and elsewhere. In the fall, she will be a Literature and Creative Writing PhD candidate at the University of Houston.
Hala Alyan is the author of the novel Salt Houses, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Arab American Book Award and a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize, as well as the forthcoming novel The Arsonists’ City, and four award-winning collections of poetry, most recently The Twenty-Ninth Year. 
Yasmine Ameli is an Iranian American writer from Worcester, Massachusetts. She holds a BA in English from Johns Hopkins University and an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Virginia Tech. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Narrative, AGNI, The Rumpus, Shenandoah, Frontier Poetry, Bitch Media, and elsewhere.
Huda Asfour believes in the necessity of transcending borders which is reflected in her work as an educator, musician and engineer. As a composer, oudist, and singer songwriter, she blends the traditional with the contemporary, resulting in a rich and lyrical musical experience
LeilAwa | Leila Awadallah is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and filmmaker working with movement through embodied research and storytelling. LeilAwa is a Palestinian American artist (she/her) based between Minneapolis, Mni Sota and Beirut, Lebanon. She is the Artistic Director of the emerging: Body Watani project / practice.
Emad El-Din Aysha is an academic researcher, with a PhD from the UK, is a freelance journalist, translator, and author currently residing in Cairo, Egypt. He has one published anthology to his name and is a member of the Egyptian Writers’ Union.
Sherrine Azab is the co-director of Detroit-based theater ensemble A Host of People. A Host of People is a multiracial ensemble that creates original multi-media theater that examines the past to interrogate the present in order to move towards a more just and celebratory future. Sherrine’s work with A Host of People has been performed in and around Detroit and nationally.
Zeina Azzam is a Palestinian American poet, editor, and community activist. Her poems appear in Bettering American Poetry, Making Mirrors: Writing/Righting by and for Refugees, Pleiades, Passager, Mizna, and Sukoon, among others. Zeina’s chapbook, Bayna Bayna, In-Between, was published May 2021. She holds an MA in Arabic literature from Georgetown University.
Danielle Badra received her BA in Creative Writing from Kalamazoo College and her MFA in Poetry from George Mason University. She won the 2021 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize for her collection Like We Still Speak, which will be published by the University of Arkansas Press in the fall of 2021.
Mariam Bazeed [they/them] is a nonbinary Egyptian immigrant, writer, performer, and cook living in a rent-stabilized apartment in Brooklyn. An alliteration-leaning writer of prose, poetry, plays, and personal essays, Mariam has an MFA in Fiction from Hunter College, and are a slow student of Arabic music.
Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch is a queer Arab (Lebanese) poet living in Tio’tia:ke, unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory. Their book, knot body, was published by Metatron Press in September 2020, and their upcoming book, The Good Arabs, will be published by Metonymy Press in 2021. You can find them on Instagram and Twitter @theonlyelitareq.
Yasmin Belkhyr is a Moroccan-American writer and editor. She is the author of Bone Light (African Poetry Book Fund and Akashic Books, 2017), and the founder of the literary magazine, Winter Tangerine, and the independent publisher, Honeysuckle Press. She currently lives in New York City.
bes is a trans/disciplinary SWANAmerican researcher, poet-performer, conscientious creator and some such. currently based on the east coast of Turtle Island, bes resided in Central Anatolia from 2013-2018.

Mariam Boctor is a writer, translator, researcher and curator based in Egypt. They are interested in medicine, food and bodies. She is part feline and sings sometimes. Their work has been featured in The Outpost and Mada Masr.
Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán is a multimedia artist, activist/organizer, critic, and educator. He is author of Archipiélagos; Antes y después del Bronx: Lenapehoking; and South Bronx Breathing Lessons; editor of Yellow Medicine Review‘s international queer Indigenous issue; and co-editor of Movement Research Performance Journal‘s Native dance/movement/performance issue.
Rawya El Chab is a Brooklyn-based theatermaker from Lebanon. Her career trajectory combines training and experience in classical theatre, contemporary art performance and community engagement. Her work emphasizes the development of ludic practices and the democratization of the tools of theater as a means to dismantle modes of oppression.
Hayan Charara is the author of four poetry collections: These Trees, Those Leaves, This Flower, That Fruit, forthcoming from Milkweed Editions, Something Sinister (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016), The Sadness of Others (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2006), which was nominated for the National Book Award, and The Alchemist’s Diary (Hanging Loose Press, 2001).
Leila Chatti is a Tunisian-American poet and author of Deluge (Copper Canyon Press, 2020). Her honors include a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the NEA, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Cleveland State University. She teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Soumya Dhulekar is a US-based illustrator, born in Mumbai and raised in New Jersey. You can see her work in Catapult Magazine and in Drawing Power, winner of the Eisner Award for Best Anthology and listed as NYT’s Best Comics of 2019. She is also one of the organizing artists of Maamoul Press.
Tarik Dobbs is an Arab American queer writer and text artist born in Dearborn, MI. Dobbs’s poems appear in AGNI, American Poetry Review, & Poetry Magazine. They are presently a poetry editor at Great River Review. Their poetry chapbook, Dancing on the Tarmac, was selected by G. Calvocoressi (Yemassee, 2021).
Tracy Fuad’s debut collection of poetry, about:blank, was chosen by Claudia Rankine as the winner of the Donald Hall Prize, and will be published in October. Her chapbook, PITH, won the 2019 Gloria Anzaldúa Prize and was published by Newfound. She lives in Berlin and is a 2021 Provincetown Poetry Fellow.
Banah is a mermaid from Syria raised in the U.S. south (she/they/zhe). Banah is the winner of the Diverse Voices Prize and zir first book, syrena in space, will be released in 2022 with Dzanc Books. Zhe has a PhD in Ethnic Studies and studies how Syrian women use poetics and performance to challenge the Assad regime, imperialism, Zionism, and other oppressive systems. 
Ramy El-Etreby is a queer, Muslim, Arab American writer, performer, storyteller and educator from Los Angeles, California. His writings have appeared in The Huffington Post, Queerty, KCET, and the award-winning blog Love Inshallah.
Mateo Genoveva (they/them) is a Moroccan, Venezuelan, and Costa Rican poet whose writing centers their truth as a queer Muslim. Mateo’s storytelling prioritizes survivorhood, queer femme truth telling, and children of immigrants. They are the founder of Isolated Journal.
Layla Azmi Goushey holds a Ph.D. in Adult Education: Teaching and Learning Processes and she is a Professor of English at St. Louis Community College in St. Louis, Missouri. She has published literary reviews in The Middle East Eye, Jadaliyya, Sukoon, The Levant, The Collagist and other journals.
Carissa Halston is a fiction writer. Her work has appeared in The Normal School, Mizna, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. She has received awards and honors for her fiction from The Cincinnati Review, Willow Springs, and Fourteen Hills, among others. She is currently working on a novel about state surveillance.
Shadab Zeest Hashmi, a Pakistani-American poet/essayist, has won the San Diego Book Award, Sable’s Hybrid Book Prize, Nazim Hikmet Prize, and many Pushcart nominations. Her books include Kohl and Chalk, Baker of Tarifa, Ghazal Cosmopolitan and Comb. Shadab’s poetry, including translations of her poetry, have appeared in anthologies/journals worldwide.
Mona Hassan is a writer for the Who Is? podcast at NowThis in New York with roots in Cairo, Egypt. Her personal writing explores issues of mental health, identity and sexuality. Mona’s writing has been featured in publications like Rewire, SLATE, Elite Daily and Middle East Eye. She holds a Master of Arts in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from the American University in Washington, D.C.
Feras Hilal is a brown queer muslim Palestinian writer/performer living on Cahuilla land.
Darine Hotait is a screenwriter, film director, and the founder of the film incubator, Cinephilia Productions. Her films can be seen on SundanceTV, Forbes, AMC Networks, BBC, ShortsTV, and at over a hundred international film festivals. She resides in New York City.
Randa Jarrar is the author of the memoir Love Is An Ex-Country, the novel A Map of Home, and the collection of stories Him, Me, Muhammad Ali. She is also a performer who has appeared in independent films and in the TV show RAMY. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Salon, Bitch, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere.
Ghinwa Jawhari is a Lebanese-American writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She was born to Druze parents in Cleveland, OH. Her debut chapbook BINT was selected by Aria Aber as winner of the Own Voices Chapbook Prize. She is a 2021 Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.
I.S. Jones is a queer American Nigerian poet and music journalist. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in Guernica, Washington Square Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hobart Pulp, The Rumpus, The Offing, Shade Literary Arts, and elsewhere. Her chapbook Spells Of My Name is forthcoming with Newfound in 2021.
A poet and librettist, Janine Joseph is the author of Decade of the Brain (forthcoming in 2023 from Alice James Books) and Driving Without a License, winner of the 2014 Kundiman Poetry Prize. An Undocupoets co-organizer and MacDowell Fellow, she is an assistant professor of poetry at Oklahoma State University.
Zeyn Joukhadar is the author of The Thirty Names of Night and The Map of Salt and Stars. Joukhadar’s work has appeared in Kink, Salon, The Paris Review, Mizna, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He is a member of RAWI and the Periplus Collective.
Micaela Kaibni Raen is an Arab American author. She is a voice for peace and an advocate for international LGBT+ rights. She has been featured in several journals and anthologies including Yellow Medicine ReviewA Different Path, and The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology.
Sara Elkamel is a poet and journalist living between Cairo and NYC. Her poems appear in The Common, MQR, Four Way Review, Adroit Journal, Best New Poets, Best of the Net, among others. She is the author of Field of No Justice (African Poetry Book Fund & Akashic Books).
Nour Kamel (she/they) writes and edits things in Egypt. Their chapbook Noon is part of the New-Generation African Poets series and their writing can be found in Anomaly, Rusted Radishes, Ikhtyar, 20.35 Africa, Sumou and Mizna. Kamel writes about identity, language, queerness, gender, oppression, family, and food.
Raphael Khouri is a queer transmasc artist living between Berlin and the Middle East. Khouri is the author of several plays, including No Matter Where I Go, a play about queer Lebanese Women and No Matter Where I Go, the first play about trans Arabs.
Tariq Luthun is a Detroit-born Palestinian community organizer, data consultant, and Emmy Award-winning poet. He earned his MFA in Poetry from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. His first collection of poetry, HOW THE WATER HOLDS ME, was awarded Editors’ Selection by Bull City Press and is available now.

Lisa Suhair Majaj is an internationally published poet, writer, researcher, editor, and children’s author living in Cyprus. Her poetry collection Geographies of Light won the Del Sol Press Poetry Prize. She is co-editor of three collections of critical essays on Arab/Arab American women writers and international women writers of color.
Aurielle Marie (they/she) is a Black, Atlanta-born, Queer poet, essayist, and social strategist. They’ve received invitations to fellowships from Tin House, The Watering Hole, Pink Door, and served as the 2019 Writer-in-Residence for Lambda Literary. Her poetry debut, Gumbo Ya Ya, won the 2020 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press in the Fall of 2021.
Holly Mason has an MFA in Poetry from GMU. She is a reader for Poetry Daily and has work in Rabbit Catastrophe Review, The Northern Virginia Review, Foothill Poetry Journal, 1508, CALYX, The Rumpus, The Adroit Journal, Entropy, and elsewhere. She is a Queer, Kurdish-American poet living in Northern Virginia.
Sana Masud is a designer and visual artist based in Brooklyn. Her multidisciplinary practice includes website design, branding, illustration, and research. She is part of Maamoul Press, a multidisciplinary press of artists from marginalized backgrounds. Her works have been exhibited in Cusco, Peru, the Anderson Gallery, Quirk Hotel, and the ICA in Richmond, VA.
Threa Almontaser is the author of the poetry collection, THE WILD FOX OF YEMEN from Graywolf Press and selected by Harryette Mullen for the 2020 Walt Whitman Award from The Academy of American Poets. She is the recipient of awards from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright program, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA and TESOL certification from North Carolina State University and is at work on her first novel.
Molly Murphy Adams is an exhibiting fiber artist specializing in contemporary sculptural beadwork and printmaking. Murphy Adams is of Oglala Lakota tribal descent and Lebanese and Irish immigrant descent. She was raised in western Montana, earned a BFA from The University of Montana in 2004, and makes Oklahoma her home.

Philip Metres has written numerous books, including Shrapnel Maps, Sand Opera, and The Sound of Listening. Awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim and Lannan Foundations, and three Arab American Book Awards, he is professor of English and director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at John Carroll University.
Mawadah Nofal is an Egyptian artist and writer. She is the founder of WarmBlue Collective, a Riyadh-based art collective and zine for WANA teens. She also writes a monthly column for Mathqaf called Mawadah fel Zaman, which explores art and art history in the region. Her work has been published in Rusted RadishesUnootha MagSumou Mag, and more. Find her on Instagram @goghing.places or wandering through an art museum.
Nourhan is a graduate student studying Literary Studies and Rhetoric and her job is to challenge and dissect academia. She loves food and loves to read.
Sarah O’Neal is a Moroccan and Black, queer Muslim, writer, swimmer, and organizer based in Oakland, CA. Her first chapbook “Even Two Hands Pressed Together Are Split” is available now via Irrelevant Press. Find her on IG and twitter @atayqueen or sarahadbiboneal.com 
Eman Quotah is the author of the novel Bride of the Sea. She grew up in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, and Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Toast, The Establishment, Book Riot, Literary Hub, Electric Literature and other publications. She lives with her family near Washington, D.C
Julian Randall is a living queer Black poet from Chicago. They are the author of Refuse (Pitt, 2018) which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the forthcoming Middle Grade novel Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa. He can be found @JulianThePoet and on his website JulianDavidRandall.com
Zein Sa’dedin is a poet, editor, and educator based in Amman, Jordan. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of St. Andrews. Her poems have appeared in Third Coast Magazine, Cordite Poetry Review, Winter Tangerine, and others. Her poetry pamphlet is forthcoming with ignitionpress in August 2021.

Aiya Sakr was born in the United States but grew up in Amman, Jordan, with Palestinian, Egyptian, and Jordanian heritage. She is the author of Her Bones Catch the Sun (The Poet’s Haven, 2018). A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in Mizna, Nimrod, and elsewhere. She has a master’s degree in literature and writing from Utah State University. Currently, she’s completing an MFA in poetry at Purdue University.
Syrian by way of San Diego, Maya Salameh is a 2016 National Student Poet, America’s highest honor for youth poets. Her poems have appeared in The Greensboro Review, Asian American Writer’s Workshop, and Brooklyn Review, among others. Maya is the author of rooh (Paper Nautilus Press 2020).
Adeeba Shahid Talukder is a Pakistani American poet, singer, and translator of Urdu and Persian poetry. She is the author of What Is Not Beautiful (Glass Poetry Press, 2018) and her debut collection, Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved (Tupelo Press, 2020), is a winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize. Adeeba holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and an Emerging Poets fellowship from Poets House.
Born in California to Palestinian parents, Betty Shamieh is the author of fifteen plays. Named as a Guggenheim Fellow and a UNESCO Young Artist for Intercultural dialogue, her play ROAR was the first play about a Palestinian-American family to premiere off-Broadway. She is currently the Mellon Playwright in Residence at the Classical Theatre of Harlem and a Denning Visit Artist at Stanford. Her works has been translated into seven languages. http://www.bettyshamieh.com
Deema K. Shehabi is the author of Thirteen Departures from the Moon, co-editor with Beau Beausoleil of Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts, and co-author with Marilyn Hacker of Diaspo/Renga. She won the Nazim Hikmet prize in 2018, and her work has been published in literary journals and anthologies.
Naomi Shihab Nye is the Young People’s Poet Laureate through the Poetry Foundation and a professor of creative writing at Texas State University. Her recent books include The Tiny Journalist, Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners, Cast Away, and Everything Comes Next: Collected and New Poems. She received the 2019 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle.
Hind Shoufani is a BAFTA winning and Oscar nominated Palestinian-American writer, filmmaker, and poet. Hind has published two books of poetry and edited two anthologies of creative writing, poetry and photography in Beirut and Dubai. She is also an award winning director for her documentary feature film Trip Along Exodus.
Zaina Alsous is a writer and movement worker in South Florida. Her first full-length collection A Theory of Birds won the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize, and was published by the University of Arkansas Press in the fall of 2019.
Sonia Sulaiman tells Palestinian folktales, and writes speculative short fiction inspired by Palestinian folklore. In her spare time, she is a submissions editor for the Hugo award-winning Uncanny Magazine..
Tasneem is a Canadian-American Multi Disciplinary Artist and Activist with roots in East Africa. Their focus is on music, acting, writing, & filmmaking. Musically, their alternative sound is a consequence of a multi cultural upbringing.Their music is streaming now on all platforms.  
Fargo Tbakhi is a queer Palestinian-American performance artist. His writing can be found in Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, the Shallow Ends, Mizna, Peach Mag, and elsewhere. His performance work has been programmed at OUTsider Fest, INTER-SECTION Solo Fest, and elsewhere. Find more at fargotbakhi.com.

Jood AlThukair is a writer and the founding editor-in-chief of Sumou, an online magazine that connects marginalized creatives, leaving pieces of themselves within its pages as they wander this earth. Searching for the perfect pomegranate in Riyadh, Jood is a recent English Literature graduate, eternally rambling about postcolonial theory and the space she takes online.

Aliah Lavonne Tigh is the author of Weren’t We Natural Swimmers, a forthcoming 2021 chapbook with Tram Editions. Tigh’s poems have been featured in Guernica, The Texas Review, Matter Monthly, The Rupture, and others. She lives in Houston, Texas..
Katherine Toukhy is a mixed media visual artist who makes public installations, figurative cut-outs, animation, and paintings. She is of the Egyptian Coptic diaspora in the U.S. and lives and works in Brooklyn.
Priscilla Wathington is a Palestinian American writer, editor, and human rights advocate. Her poems and other writings have appeared in Gulf Coast, Michigan Quarterly Review, Salamander, Matter, The Normal School, Mizna, Sukoon, Al Jadid, and +972 Magazine, among others. Her chapbook, Paper and Stick, is forthcoming in fall 2021 from Tram Editions. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sharifa Yasmin is a trans Egyptian-American director and playwright. She has completed directing fellowships with Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Drama League, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Yasmin’s plays have been produced with Uprising Theatre, Amphibian Stage, Trans Theatre Fest, and Women’s Theatre Festival. Yasmin is currently a MFA Directing Candidate at Brown/Trinity Rep. 
Shereen Younes is a queer Syrian-American filmmaker and poet. She self-published her first poetry collection “dime piece” in 2016 and is currently writing her second. She co-hosts the podcast Ethnically Ambiguous, delving into experiences of people of color and marginalized communities while raising awareness about significant world news. 
Kamelya Omayma Youssef is a poet based in New York and Dearborn/Detroit. She is the author of A book with a hole in it, forthcoming in 2022. She also writes essays and makes creative workshops with her friends. She is an MFA candidate in Poetry at New York University.