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Scheherazade's Legacy: Arab and Arab American Women on Writing written by Susan M. Darraj


Scheherazade's Legacy: Arab and Arab American Women on Writing written by Susan M. Darraj


In a time when it seems that the gap of understanding between the West and the Middle East continues to widen, Scheherazade's Legacy builds a bridge between the two cultures. Collected here are the voices of those who define the genre of Arab Anglophone writing—that literature that describes the cultural experiences of those with Arab identities living, and often writing, in the West. Contributions from such writers as Naomi Shihab Nye, Diana Abu-Jaber, Suheir Hammad, Etal Adnan, Elmaz Abinader, and others, explore the complexities of writing in and for a culture not entirely their own. The essays here, complemented by selections, mostly original, of each author's work, promises to be a cornerstone in the study of writing by women writers of Arab descent who find themselves between two cultures, two worlds that are often at odds.

With a foreword by Barbara Nimri Aziz, journalist, and founder of RAWI (Radius of Arab-American Writers), this collection is one of the first books to assemble the voices of women writers of Arab descent on the subject of writing itself. Contributors consider the difficulties, obstacles, joys, failures and successes of writing from an Arab perspective but largely for American audiences. They consider aspects of identity, family, politics, memory, and other crucial cultural issues that impact them personally and professionally as writers. In creative and thoughtful prose, these important women writers shed new light on what it means to be a writer in a world not fully your own.


Aziz asserts that when the time is right, people with a shared identity feel called to tell their story. Sometimes the impetus is a significant geo-political event or a shift in society that allows voices to be heard. Sometimes it merely happens that a number of gifted, restless and sensitive writers are born at the right place and time. Here Aziz proves these situations can be simultaneous in her collection of the work of significant Arab and Arab American women writers, including Naomi Shihab Nye, Diana Abu-Jaber, and Elmaz Abinader. They describe their shared and yet differing identity, the impact politics has on their lives, the inspiration they have taken from their past and their future, their memories of life in at least two worlds, and their love of a language comprised of the words of one culture and the sounds of another. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

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Title: Scheherazade's Legacy: Arab and Arab American Women on Writing

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