About the Writers

The women represented here in interviews have continued their lives as writers since Diane began this project. Some have had works reviewed; some have taken hard political stances and had their lives as writers interrupted; most have continued quietly writing, as their identify is as writers. Those from the Middle East are often not included in Western media. Furthermore the Arab Spring has censored many of them for various reasons.Links below tell more of the story as to where these women are today.

Middle Eastern Writers

Lutfiyaa Delaimi

Lutfiyaa Delaimi (Iraq)

Lutfiyya was born in Diyala, Iraq, but resides in Jordan due to the war. She has published many works including novels. Some of her short stories have been translated into English by Shakir Mustafa. One can read her works in Banipal of 2004, and in the book translated by Mustafa “Contemporary Iraqi Fiction: An Anthology” at Amazon.com.

Video Interview with Lutfiyaa Delaimi, Jordan, 2009
Hadiyya Hussein

Hadiyya Hussein (Iraq)

Hadiyya was born in Baghdad and lives in Jordan. She is a short story writer as well as a novelist (Beyond Love, originally written in Arabic, and published by Syracuse University Press in 2012).

Rana Azzoubi

Rana Azzoubi (Jordan)

Rana was born in 1969 in Amman. She has written several children’s books that can be found at Amazon.com: Through a Mud Wall (2006) and Million Star Hotel (2007).

Video Interview with Rana Azzoubi, Jordan, 2009
Video Interview with Rana Azzoubi, Jordan, 2015
Samiha Khreis

Samiha Khreis (Jordan)

Samiha was born in Amman. Her writings include The Poppy in Banipal Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, No. 13, Spring 2002, translated by Yasir Suleiman. Samiha continues to write.
The Poppy

Video Interview with Samiha Khreis, Jordan, 2009
Leila Atrash

Leila Atrash (Palestine)

Born in Palestine. [Resides in Jordan]. Works: A Woman of Five Seasons (trans. from Arabic by Nora Nweihid Halwani and Christopher Tingley, 2002).

Video Interview with Leila Atrash, Jordan, 2009
Video Interview with Leila Atrash, Jordan, 2015
Basma Elnsour

Basma Nsour (Jordan)

Basma was born in Amman. One of her works can be found in Banipal, No. 13, Spring 2002, translated by Aida A. Bamia. Basma continues to write. She also is an editor of Tyche, the woman’s magazine.
The Man Who Crossed the Street

The Pathetic Woman – 2016

Video Interview with Basma Nsour, Jordan, 2009
Video Interview with Basma Nsour, Jordan, 2015
Salma Khadra Jayyusi

Salma Khadra Jayyusi

Salma was born in Palestine to a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother. She is famous as a translator and as a promoter of Arab literature throughout the world. Her numerous works include: Classical Arabic Stories – An Anthology published by Columbia University Press in 2010.

Video Interview with Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Jordan, 2009
Colette Banha

Colette Banha (Syria)

Colette continues to live in Syria and is surviving the war. Her work for several journals in the Arab world has become minimal due to the conflict.

Video Interview with Colette Banha, 2011
Rosa Hassan

Rosa Hassan (Syria)

Rosa was born in Damascus in 1974. Her first published book was a collection of short stories, published in 2000 under the title A Sky Tainted with Light. She has also written a number of novels, starting with Ebony (2004) which won the Hanna Mina Prize. Her third novel Hurras al-Hawa (Guardians of the Air, 2009) was longlisted for the Arabic Booker Prize. One of her stories is included in the work: Beirut 39: New writings from the Arab World, 2010.

Video Interview with Rosa Hassan, 2011
Colette Khouri

Colette Khouri (Syria)

Colette was born in 1931 and is a Syrian novelist. In 1959 she shocked the Arab world with a novel in which she wrote openly on love; this breakthrough novel “Ayyam Maahou” (The Days With Him) was the first time a woman had come out so boldly on a subject considered taboo in conservative Syrian society. “Ayyam Maahou” was inspired by a love affair with the legendary Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani. Khoury has more than 20 novels under her name, and has also written many political and literary articles.

Video Interview with Colette Khouri, 2011
Samar Yazbek

Samar Yazbek (Syria)

Samar was born in 1970 in Jable. She has been a prominent voice in support of women’s rights and human rights in Syria. Besides her many local writings, she has a short story in the work: Beirut 39: New writings from the Arab World. Samar resides in Paris as she has fled the war and detention in Syria.
Now, This is Not Damascus Anymore
A Testimony from Syria

Video Interview with Samar Yazbek, 2011
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Western Writers

Abriana Jette

Abriana Jette

Abriana has been a student at BU in the writing program. She recently received a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship — a grant that will allow her to study in a country of her choice for up to three months. She also is working on a collection of poetry titled Pink Houses.

Video Interview with Abriana Jette, Boston, 2011
Edith Pearlman

Edith Pearlman

Edith Pearlman lives in Brookline and continues to write. She is a short story writer. Since the interview in the Fall of 2011, Edith has won several prizes, among them: The National Book Critics Circle Aware in 2012 for Binocular Vision; the PEN/Malamud Award in 2011; and she was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction for Binocular Vision. Edith’s stories have been included in many journals, including The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker.
Short stories, long career

Video Interview with Edith Pearlman, Brookline, 2011
Daphne Kalotay

Daphne Kalotay

Daphne Kalotay lives in the Brookline area. Her work : Russian Winter: A Novel from 2010 has been well received. Daphne continues to write.
Times Literary Supplement Review of Russian Winter, March 2, 2012

Video Interview with Daphne Kalotay, Boston, 2011
Saskya Jain

Saskya Jain

Saskya Jain lives in Germany. After finishing her studies in Creative Writing at Boston University she will spend time at the Ledig House in upstate New York. She is currently working on her first novel. Her short story Urine Lane was chosen as a finalist by the Asian-American Short Story Contest. Her short story “Bhutas” is included in The Baffler‘s summer issue – 2012. The issue takes a look at the state of American culture.
Urine Lane

Video Interview with Saskya Jain, Boston, 2011
Leslie Williams

Leslie Williams

Leslie Williams resides in Brookline and is currently working on her second book tentatively titled Garment of Skins. first book, Success of the Seed Plants, won the 2010 Bellday Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. She has received the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America and grants in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Illinois Arts Council. Her poems have appeared in *Poetry, Slate, Shenandoah, The Southern Review and in many other magazines.

Video Interview with Leslie Williams, Boston, 2011
Rosanna Warren

Rosanna Warren

Rosanna Warren is an American poet and a scholar. She has won numerous awards which include: the Lamont Poetry Prize, Pushcart Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award of Merit, etc. She continues to write and translate and teach.

Video Interview with Rosanna Warren, Boston, 2011
Video Interview with Rosanna Warren, Boston, 2011
Tova Mirvis

Tova Mirvis

Tova Mirvis writes in the Boston area. In 2009, she was named a Scholar in Residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University, and in 2010, was selected as a Visiting Research Associate at The Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center.

Video Interview with Tova Mirvis, Boston, 2011
Ellen Steinbaum

Ellen Steinbaum

Ellen Steinbaum lives and writes in the Boston area. She is a writer and a poet. Ellen Steinbaum is the author of two poetry collections, Afterwords and Container Gardening. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and included in Garrison Keillor’s new anthology, Good Poems, American Places. She is also the author of a one-person play which she has performed. She is a former literary columnist for The Boston Globe and now writes a blog, “Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe,” which can be found at her web site, ellensteinbaum.com.

Video Interview with Ellen Steinbaum, Boston, 2011
Margot Livesey

Margot Livesey

Margot Livesey lives and works in the Boston area, although she was born in Scotland. Her latest work: The Flight of Gemma Hardy has been well received. She has written for many publications including: The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker. Margot is also a professor at Emerson College in Boston.

Video Interview with Margot Livesey, Boston, 2011
Shakir Mustafa

Shakir Mustafa

Shakir Mustafa is an Iraqi who lives in New Hampshire. He teaches at Northeastern University in Boston and is a translator and writer. His work Contemporary Iraqi Fiction: An Anthology was published by Syracuse University Press in 2008. It is the pre-eminent work of translated stories from Iraq.

Video Interview with Shakir Mustafa, New Hampshire, 2011
Nawal Nasrallah

Nawal Nasrallah

Nawal Nasrallah is also an Iraqi, living in New Hampshire. Her recent publications as an independent scholar include: Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and History of the Iraqi Cuisine; the award-winning Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens (English translation of tenth-century Baghdadi cookbook); and Dates: A Global History.

Video Interview with Nawal Nasrallah, New Hampshire, 2011