Literary Arts: Playwright, Poet, Writer
To be born a writer and an Arab-American in this lifetime creates an imperative for my work and despite an education that led me away from politically charged writing, my life, my family’s country and the political climate demanded I give voice that nuanced characters and moments that have no complication in the media.
My work has been inspired by the dislocation of my parents from Lebanon to the US, and has radiated outward to dislocations, occupations, and disenfranchisement of other people in the Arab World and Diaspora.
My first book, a memoir, The Children of the Roojme: A Family’s Journey from Lebanon was the story of three generations of Lebanese and their various challenges in finding a home away from their country. Based on diaries, interviews and letters, the book covers two centuries, ending in 1947.
My second publication, a poetry collection, In the Country of My Dreams…. Provides a collection of very specific dislocations—not only the family immigration but my own transition from New York to the Midwest and the shock of the open terrain of Nebraska and the intimate relationships with natural elements.
In addition to these publications, I have written and performed several one-women plays: Country of Origin, Ramadan Moon, 32 Mohammeds, Voices from the Siege and The Torture Quartet. Each uncovers a personal perspective on the lives of Arabs in the middle of political trauma. For instance, 32 Mohammeds is an intersection with the death of Mohammed al-Durra, a boy killed in Palestine before the second Intifada; Ramadan Moon explores the mythology associated with women who are veiled and the different reasons and responses to the veil.
My new poetry collection, This House, My Bones draws parallels between the changes of the earth through natural means to the changes in our bodies during unnatural traumas and how that trauma moves through generations. This collection is being published by Willow Press in October 2014
My current project is a novel, When Silence is Frightening (Working title)