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Booklist: 75 Recommended Titles for National Arab American Heritage Month

posted on: Apr 3, 2024

April is National Arab American Heritage Month. This month—and every month—we celebrate our rich cultural heritage and the vast contributions Arab Americans have made to American society. We recognize the achievements of Arab and Arab American writers and the growing literary influence Arab novelists, poets, translators, editors, children’s books authors, and other creative people are having in America. We proudly share 75 titles of talented Arab and Arab American writers—from fiction to memoirs, history, art, cookbooks to picture books for children. 

This list is compiled by Interlinkbooks for the Arab America Foundation and National Arab American Heritage Month.

Illustrated Gift Books / Culture and Heritage

Kahlil Gibran: Beyond Borders is the definitive biography of a much-loved poet and author of the bestselling classic The Prophet. Gibran was a poet, a painter, a rebel, a global citizen, and an immigrant from his beloved Lebanon. His compelling story is one of overcoming barriers many immigrants face to this country. It is beautifully written. In an age of rising xenophobia and anti-immigrant rhetoric, there is no better time to read this rich and enlightening book that chronicles the life and work of a man who transcends borders and generations. This volume also includes archival photos and paintings that were never before published by Gibran.

2. THE OUD: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY by Rachel Beckles Willson

This book, which I am super excited about, is the first and only definitive book on the oud and the only cultural study of the most important musical instruments of the Middle East and North Africa. An exquisitely designed volume with plentiful illustrations drawn from private collections and museums worldwide, it is written for the general reader by a musician-scholar who has researched multiple traditions of oud playing and relishes the instrument’s diverse lives. It explores the oud’s history and increasingly global lives today, its varied construction over time and place, its place in literature, its widespread repertoire, and immensely diverse players. Read the great reviews on our website!

by Hanan Karaman Munayyer
We only have a few copies of this collector’s edition, so hurry up and grab one of the last. You’ll have a book you and your family will cherish for years. We can’t agree more with what Dr. Walid Khalidi said: “This book is stunningly gorgeous … a work of passionate commitment and unstinting dedication. Its comprehensiveness, density, elegance, and sheer beauty are a tribute to the subject and the author.” A feast to the eye, this 560-page, boxed edition, with over 500 full-color photos, is truly a gem. This collectible item belongs in the home of every Palestinian family and lovers of embroidery and textile art. In it, Munayyer painstakingly documents region by region the history and intricacies of Palestinian costume, embroidery, and the legacy of tatreez as well as the evolution of costume and the textile arts in Palestine in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

The Sufi tradition centers on the opening of the heart; nothing touches the heart as much as beauty. In this book, the author’s unique style of writing, which combines clarity and poetic inspiration, is coupled with distinctive and ornamental Arabic calligraphy of each of the 99 Divine Names to make it a visually stunning tribute to this tradition. It will be enjoyed regardless of a person’s religious belief. It uniquely contributes to understanding life and oneself deeper by learning to open to the Divine. It focuses on using the Divine Names in dhikr, individual meditations, and healing practices.

This lavishly illustrated book is a remarkable journey into the heart and mind of acclaimed Palestinian-American Graphic Designer Rajie Cook. Using his art as his voice and his camera as a partner, Rajie has lifted the veil of what people see or think they see concerning the Palestinian people. Rajie narrates the truth as he sees it. The pain of the Palestinian people cries out through Rajie’s art and activism—the horror of the Occupation, the brutality of life that Palestinian children experience every day. Rajie wants the world to see what he has seen. Dr. Hanan Ashrawi called it “A powerful and poignant expression of the Palestinian narrative of exile.”


6. A LONG WALK TO GAZA by Asmaa Alatawna, translated by Caline Nasrallah and Michelle Hartman
This extraordinary new debut novel is forthcoming this spring. The violence of life in Gaza, which has taken on immense proportions for the whole world to see, is intimately rendered here in a human story of resistance and resilience. A Long Walk from Gaza is a tale of freedom—a rich telling of a Palestinian woman’s struggles under the dual hardship of being a woman living under patriarchy and Israeli occupation. Alatawna’s prose brings Gaza to life, depicting a diverse society with all its flaws and beauty that we so seldom see.

7. POISON IN THE AIR by Jabbour Douaihy, translated by Paula Haydar

Poison in the Air, Jabbour Douaihy’s final novel, chronicles the decades of social, political, and economic turmoil leading up to and including the recent collapse of his beloved Lebanon. Douaihy brings a multitude of bottled-up toxicity to the surface, as though he is writing his last letter to the world or a suicide note for Lebanon, as he vividly paints a picture of a society marching down a path to self-destruction.

8. THE BOOKSELLER’S NOTEBOOKS by Jalal Barjas, translated by Paul G. Starkey
Winner of the 2021 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, this novel explores themes of loneliness, homelessness, and mental illness. After losing his job and refuge, Ibrahim al-Warraq, a bookseller, decides to live with the homeless people in his city and assumes the identities of the heroes of the novels he has read. As events unfold, Barjas opens up many surprises for his reader, illustrating through his flawed characters the ruined state and complete emptiness of the world. In intensely poetic language, he throws light on a totally schizophrenic reality in his country. This novel from a great writer is a page-turner.

9. HUDDUD’S HOUSE by Fadi Azzam, translated by Ghada Alatrash
This novel was longlisted for the International Prize of Arabic Fiction and just received a pre-publication starred review in Kirkus. Shadowing the days of Syria’s Arab spring, Fadi Azzam’s epic novel Huddud’s House—a haunting, contemporary novel rooted in the soil of Damascus, the oldest inhabited city in humanity—is a sprawling tale of love in time of war. Focusing on a quartet of characters torn between leaving and returning to Damascus, it follows intertwining stories of love and violence to their boundaries. Azzam writes the spirit of resilience and resistance of the Syrian people. A saga on the dangers of ignoring threats or forgetting atrocities, he braves a long-distance search for his people’s voice, one that violence cannot silence.

A collection of stories about displacement, love, loss, poetry, and war from the Lebanese poet and painter who has been called “arguably the most celebrated and accomplished Arab-American author writing today.” The stories in Master of the Eclipse are populated by filmmakers, poets, girls, professors, and prostitutes who live in Beirut, Paris, Sicily, California, Saddam’s Iraq, and New York. The world of these stories is ours, with the same occupations and wars—a “world that would be a cemetery” were it not also a place where taxis are “yellow flowers floating down the avenues.” This collection won the Arab American Book Award.

11. THE DROWNING by Hammour Ziada, translated by Paul G. Starkey
The Wall Street Journal selected this third novel by award-winning Sudanese writer Hammour Ziada as the Best African Novel of the Year. It lifts a corner of the veil that covers the misery of so many women’s lives in Sudan. With scarce descriptions and just a few words, Ziada succeeds in portraying compelling characters and poignantly capturing the violence of social relations in a strictly codified society. Beautifully-written and wonderfully translated from Arabic!

12. THE KING OF INDIA by Jabbour Douaihy, translated by Paula Haydar
CrimeReads selected this novel as this year’s best international crime fiction. It was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. It is the story of a Lebanese murder case set against the backdrop of sectarian hatred.  Moody, poetic, and intellectual, The King of India is the perfect reflective read. Paula Haydar’s eloquent translation pays fitting homage to a compassionate, guiding light of Lebanese fiction. I am a huge fan of the late Jabbour Douaihy’s novels. When you finish this one, consider reading June Rain, Printed in Beirut, The American Quarter, and Poison in the Air.

13. GUNS AND ALMOND MILK by Mustafa Marwan
An adrenaline-fuelled journey into war-torn Yemen, this novel is the perfect read for fans of passionate, fast-paced fiction. Luke Larson, a British Egyptian doctor, runs from his problematic past in the UK and becomes a war surgeon. When Western security contractors take him hostage in a besieged hospital in Yemen, he realizes that after spending years saving the lives of others, he needs to face the demons of his past to save his own. Guns and Almond Milk is a study of identity, war, and redemption. It is The Sympathizer mixed with M.A.S.H by the way of Ramy. It is a fast-paced story of love, murder, and thrill that provides readers with a fresh perspective on humanitarian work, religion, assimilation, and Middle Eastern politics.

14. THE BAGHDAD VILLA by Zuheir El-Hetti, translated by Samira Kawar
Love, war, violence, and social disintegration are seen through the eyes of a young Iraqi woman and interpreted through the values and emotions expressed in seven world-famous paintings hanging in her family’s Baghdad villa. The novel is set in Baghdad following the 2003 American invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein and unleashed chaos. At the center of the narrative is a young woman who belongs to what would have been an aristocratic family under the former Iraqi monarchy and sees herself and her family as guardians of an aristocratic code of noble values and traditions. She witnesses her world and family life collapsing as the violence around her intensifies. A fresh and beautifully-written novel by a leading Iraqi novelist.

15. WE ARE ALL EQUALLY FAR AWAY FROM LOVE by Adania Shibli, translated by Paula Haydar
We Are All Equally Far Away from Love is an extraordinary piece of writing. It ranks high on my list of favorite novels. Adania’s writing is rich and beautiful. Here, a young woman asked at work to write a letter to an older man, and does as she is told. So begins an enigmatic but passionate love affair conducted entirely in letters. A love affair? Maybe. Until his letters stop coming. Or… perhaps the letters do not reach their intended recipient? Only the teenage Afaf, who works at the local post office, would know. Her favorite duty is to open the mail and inform her collaborator father of the contents—until she finds a mysterious set of love letters, apparently returned to their sender. In the hands of Adania Shibli, the discovery of these letters makes for a wrenching meditation on lives lived ensnared within the dictates of others. This riveting—albeit challenging—read demands reading. I highly recommend it!

16. ALL THE WOMEN INSIDE ME by Jana Elhassan, translated by Michelle Hartman
This novel was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and received great reviews in Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Arab News, and others. This compelling, philosophical narrative about women, power, and oppression can capture the intensity of emotions and experiences in women’s lives. It is not merely a story about the power of imagination to enrich the lives of oppressed women. Elhassan’s novel is a stark appraisal of how far women are pushed and the lengths to which women will go to escape a reality that is rotten at the core. The novel poses resonant questions about domestic abuse, religion, motherhood, and female solidarity. Read also the award-winning The Ninety-Ninth Floor by the same author.

Toronto-based Palestinian writer Said Habib has penned his first collection of stories. And what a lovely read this collection is. In four evocative stories—told with simplicity and warmth—he offers vivid and treasured views of family and neighborhood life native to the Galilee in the years leading up to and following the upheavals of 1948. Collectively, they quietly disarm the violence surrounding them, restoring a stolen past to memory under the gaze of angels.

18. THE DISPERSAL by Inaam Kachachi, translated by Inam Jaber
I am a huge fan of award-winning Iraqi author Inaam Kachachi. The Dispersal was just published and was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Tashari, the novel’s title in Arabic, is an Iraqi word for a shot from a hunting rifle, which scatters creatures in all directions. It expresses the scattering of Iraqis as a people across the globe and the separation from home and loved ones that pursue them. In this novel, Kachachi’s unhurried, spontaneous reflection on the closest ties of family evokes quiet power and beauty, relayed by the warmth of Inam Jaber’s translation. I highly recommend it. Read also The American Granddaughter by the same author.

19. SUMMER WITH THE ENEMY by Shahla Ujaili, translated by Michelle Hartman
This novel by award-winning Syrian writer Shahla Ujayli was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and was brilliantly rendered into English by Prof. Michelle Hartman. It is a wonderfully told intergenerational tale of life and love seen through the eyes of three women from Raqqa. Through the voice of Lamis, the youngest of the three, we hear the story of three generations of women and learn about the history of the Arab region and surrounding areas over a century. It is immensely compelling and enjoyable. You will also enjoy Shahla’s previous award-winning novel, A Sky So Close to Us,a moving story that thoughtfully captures the refugee experience and maps where self, family, and country intersect.

20. ALWAYS COCA-COLA by Alexandra Chreiteh, translated by Michelle Hartman
Alexandra Chreiteh wrote Always Coca-Cola in Beirut when she was still a student in her late teens. When it was first published in Arabic, critics called it “an electric shock.” It deals with the simmering tension between tradition and modernity experienced by young middle-class Lebanese women. When asked for a one-sentence description, it is like Sex in the City—in Beirut. In short, it is a fun read—a wonderful, head-shaking, humorous, and sometimes sad journey through and around the forces menacing young women’s lives and bodies, in Lebanon and beyond. Her second novel, Ali and His Russian Mother, also received high praise.

21. THE SHELL by Mustafa Khalifa, translated by Paul G. Starkey
In my view, this is the best prison literature you will ever read—the work of a modern-day Solzhenitsyn that exposes acts of violence and brutality committed by the Syrian regime. This compelling first novel is the astonishing story of a Syrian political prisoner of conscience—an atheist mistaken for a radical Islamist—who was locked up for 13 years without trial in one of the most notorious prisons in the Middle East. The novel takes the form of a diary that Musa keeps in his head and then writes down upon release. Considered by many in the Arab world to be a symbol of the Syrian opposition in the current civil war, this novel provides an essential perspective on the tragedy the Syrian people are living through.

22. DAMASCUS NIGHTS by Rafik Schami, translated by Philip Boehm
Hailed by the New York Times Book Review as “Timely and timeless at once,” this novel introduced me to Rafik Schami as a brilliant storyteller and became a fan and publisher of his work. In his review, novelist Anton Shammas said: “A master spinner of innocently beguiling yarns, slyly oblivious to the Western cartographies of narrative art and faithful only to the oral itineraries of the classical Arab storytellers, Rafik Schami plays with the genre of the Western novel, and he explodes it from within.” Set in present-day Damascus, this is a magical book told in the classical Arab tradition of tale-telling. It is a beautiful celebration of the power of storytelling.

23. THE OLD WOMAN AND THE RIVER by Ismail Fahd Ismail, translated by Sophia Vasalou
This gentle, graceful, and gripping novel by Kuwaiti writer Ismail was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. It received numerous starred reviews, including one from Kirkus that described it as follows: “A memorable tale by an author who deserves wider circulation in English … An understated, simply told story of the hell of war from an unusual perspective … Ismail’s story has a fairy-tale-like quality at points, reminiscent here of Don Quixote and there of Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees, and it speaks, without sentimentality or obviousness, about the terrors of war—and in particular a war that few Westerners know about.” 

24. DUNE SONG by Anissa Bouziane
This is Moroccan writer Anissa Bouziane’s acclaimed debut novel, which won the Prix Littéraire Sofitel Tour Blanch.  From New York during 9/11 and its fallen towers to Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains and its searing dunes, this novel explores the fraught soul of our time and needs to be read slowly. Beautiful prose draws a compelling portrait of what happens to us when the world, for no reason of our own, starts viewing us entirely differently. It is a significant literary accomplishment, and we can’t praise it enough.

25. A SKY SO CLOSE TO US by Shahla Ujaily, translated by Michelle Hartman
This is the third novel from outstanding Syrian novelist Shahla Ujaily and her first to be translated into English. It was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Set against the background of civil war and conflict in Syria, it is a moving story that brilliantly captures the refugee experience and thoughtfully maps where self, family, and country intersect. Her latest novel, Summer with the Enemy, which was also shortlisted for the 2018 Arabic Booker, was recently published by Interlink.

26. THE BOOK OF QUEENS by Joumana Haddad
I LOVE this novel by Joumana Haddad, a brilliant Lebanese writer, a leading activist for equality, individual freedoms, and secularism, and a ferocious critic of sexism in the Arab world. The Book of Queens is a family saga that spans four generations of women caught up in the tragic whirlwind of turf wars and suffering in the Middle East—from the Armenian genocide and the Israeli occupation of Palestine to modern-day civil wars and the struggles between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon and Syria. It is a gripping read—very timely. I highly recommend it.

27. WILD THORNS by Sahar Khalifeh, translated by Trevor LeGassick and Elizabeth Fernea
Sahar Khalifeh deserves the title “Virginia Wolf of Palestinian Literature.” She is a prolific and highly accomplished writer, but I consider Wild Thorns, her first novel in Arabic in 1976, her best work. It vividly depicts life under Israel’s brutal occupation. It portrays Palestinian workers’ daily hazards and difficulties and evokes the irrepressible and indomitable spirit of Nablus and its people. I highly recommend this classic of Palestinian literature.

28. ALL THAT’S LEFT TO YOU by Ghassan Kanafani, translated by May Jayyusi and Jeremy Reed
Born in 1936 in Akka (Acre), Ghassan Kanafaniwas part of the 1948 departure from Palestine. A politically active journalist in Beirut during the 1960s, Kanafani was killed in the explosion of his booby-trapped car in July 1972. All That’s Left to You is a novella and short story brilliantly translated by May Jayyusi and Jeremy Reed from Arabic. The novella presents the vivid story of twenty-four hours in the real and remembered lives of a brother and sister living in Gaza and separated from their family. The desert and time emerge as characters as Kanafani speaks through the desert, the brother, and the sister to build the powerful rhythm of the narrative. The Palestinian attachment to land and family and the sorrow over their loss are symbolized by the young man’s unremitting anger and shame over his sister’s sexual disgrace. This remarkable collection is one of the rare gems of Palestinian literature that Kanafani left us.

29. THE SECRET LIFE OF SAEED by Emile Habiby, translated by Salma Khadra Jayyusi and Trevor LeGassick
Emile Habiby was one of the most celebrated Palestinian writers. He has published several highly acclaimed novels and plays, and his work has been translated into numerous languages. Habiby died in 1996. His award-winning novel The Secret Life of Saeed is a clever tragicomedy demonstrating the complex life of a Palestinian living in Israel. Saeed is the comic hero, the luckless fool, whose tale tells of aggression and resistance, terror and heroism, reason and loyalty that typify the hardships and struggles of Arabs in Israel. An informer for the Zionist state, his stupidity, honesty, and cowardice make him more of a victim than a villain, but in a series of tragicomic episodes, he is gradually transformed from a disaster-haunted, gullible collaborator into a Palestinian—no hero still, but a simple man intent on survival and, perhaps, happiness. The author’s anger and sorrow at Palestine’s tragedy and his acquaintance with the absurdities of Israeli politics (he was once a member of Israel’s parliament himself) are here transmuted into satire both biting and funny. This is one of my all-time favorites.

30. TOUCH by Adania Shibli, translated by Paula Haydar
An exquisite, powerful novel from celebrated Palestinian writer Adania Shibli that transports readers to her West Bank homeland. There is so much richness and beauty in this work. It has a soul rhythm, and cries for reading repeatedly. Shibli has created a work of fiction that will keep you mesmerized page after page as she paints a picture of a young girl living in the West Bank colored by tragic personal and political events. When you’re done reading Touch, we recommend reading Adania’s second novel, We Are All Far Away from Love. Adania Shibli’s signature style comes from holding back. The silence in both her novels builds an unnerving suspense.

31. THE SHELL by Moustafa Khalifa, translated by Paul G. Starkey
This is the most powerful novel you will ever read about Syria under the Assad regime—with echoes of Solzhenitsyn and Kafka’s The Trial and, in some instances, the author’s imagery is akin to Dante Alighieri’s Inferno. It is a compelling debut novel and an astonishing story of a Syrian political prisoner of conscience. It takes the form of a diary that Musa keeps in his head and then writes down upon his release from Tadmur, Syria’s most notorious prison. I highly recommend this novel for the writer’s brilliance and an important perspective of the tragedy that has befallen the Syrian people.

32. JUNE RAIN by Jabbour Douaihy, translated by Paula Haydar
Jabbour Douaihy—a celebrated Lebanese writer—is one of my favorite Arab novelists, with an incredible eye for detail. That’s why I published three of his novels so far. June Rain is a masterpiece shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. It tells the story of a 1957 gunfight that took place at a village funeral mass and depicts the divisions that left the inhabitants suffering for generations.  In short, it is a moving and powerful portrait of identity and division in Lebanon that is as relevant today as it was when the massacre of one Christian community by another took place 40 years ago. You will also enjoy Douaihy’s Printed in Beirut, which is a dazzling mystery set in the world of Lebanon’s book publishing industry.

33. THE AMERICAN GRANDDAUGHTER by Inaam Kachachi, translated by Nariman Youssef
Iraqi writer Inaam Kachachi’s novel is a great read that portrays the dual tragedy of her native land: America’s failure and the humiliation of Iraq. It was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction and won France’s Lagardere Prize. It depicts the American occupation of Iraq through the eyes of a young Iraqi-American woman who returns to her country as an interpreter for the US Army. It is a page-turner and very insightful.

34. THE NINETY-NINTH FLOOR by Jana Elhassan, translated by Michelle Hartman
Jana Elhassan is an award-winning novelist and short story writer from Lebanon. The Ninety-Ninth Floor—shortlisted for the International Prize for International Fiction—is her third novel and the first to be translated into English. It received a rave review in the NY Times and a starred review in Library Journal. With Manhattan, Beirut, and Palestine as backdrops to this multi-voiced narration, The Ninety-Ninth Floor conveys the brutality that war leaves on the people who experience it. It is also a love story that asks questions about the ability of passion to overcome hatred and difference.

35. SCHERAZADE by Leila Sebbar, translated by by Dorothy S. Blair
This is my favorite novel by Algerian writer Leila Sebbar. Sherazade is about a young woman haunted by her Algerian past. It is a powerful account of a person who searches for her true identity but is caught between worlds—Africa and Europe, her parents and her own, colony and capital. It is a fresh, first-hand insight into young, second-generation immigrants’ chaotic, marginalized lives in a big city. Sebbar was born in Algeria to a French mother and an Algerian father, and having lived in Paris for many years, she straddles the two worlds between which her protagonist and other characters rotate.

36. OH, SALAAM by Najwa Barakat, translated by Luke Leafgren
Najwa Barakat is a fearless journalist and novelist from Lebanon. She is a prominent voice in the Arab literary world and is known for addressing difficult issues with dark humor and gritty realism. Oh, Salaam! tells the story of three friends whose lives are transformed by their participation in an inhuman civil war and by their relationship with the novel’s anti-heroine, Salaam. The intricately woven plot is a page-turner even though readers may find the depictions of civil war, torture, oppressive gender roles, and sexual exploitation challenging to read. Sadly, they remain very relevant.

37. SABRIYA by Ulfat Idilbi, translated by Peter Clark
This is a haunting novel about the lives of women in 1920s Syria. Born in Damascus in 1912, Ulfat Idilbi is a celebrated Syrian novelist with a passionate voice that is all her own. Her novel, Sabriya, is her most popular one and was dramatized for Syrian television. Written from the point of view of a young girl committed to the nationalist cause but unable to take an active part because of her sex, it seethes with the frustrated energy of the reluctant bystander and vividly expresses the terror of civilians living in a city rocked nightly by explosions.

38. B AS IN BEIRUT by Iman Humaydan, translated by Michelle Hartman
B as in Beirut is a fascinating and haunting portrayal of life in war-torn Beirut during the civil war. Originally published in Arabic, Iman Humaydan tells a multilayered and multi-voiced story of four unforgettable women living in the same building. It is authentic in that it narrates the stories of real people in real situations. I found it to be a compelling read and a subtle but powerful protest against war and sectarianism. Iman Humaydan’s novels are always concerned with the lives of women. You will also love her latest novel The Weight of Paradise.

Set in Gaza, this debut novel is a stirring story of love discovered in unexpected places, growing us beyond who we thought we were—or imagined we could become. Summer, 1981—Following the death of her father, Becky Klein, an adventurous, naive young woman from the Midwest, sets out for the Middle East, in search of her Jewish roots. She finds them, growing in a Gaza garden near a refugee camp by the sea. There she befriends the garden’s owner, a Palestinian activist who has served time in Israeli jails. As their relationship grows, Rebecca finds herself drawn into a story unlike the one she had expected to discover. Moving—yet brimming with flashes of humor—Alison Glick’s tangle with the search for commitment and purpose yields a radiant, bracing love story for these times. I can’t praise this novel enough!

This just-published novel is Mhani Alaoui’s gripping and engaging third novel. Set in present-day Casablanca, in a country where the precarious rights of women and children can be reversed in an instant, but legacies of resilience still reverberate across time. Booklist reviewed this brilliant novel as follows: “Alaoui delves deeply into the inner lives of her diverse cast of characters, presenting their stories and experiences in vivid and descriptive language. Individual chapters explore the characters’ pasts … and how Morocco’s history feeds into the situations faced by the women in the story. This reflective, social-issue-focused character study will appeal to readers of Laila Lalami.” I highly recommend it.


41. I DON’T WANT THIS POEM TO END by Mahmoud Darwish, translated by Mohammad Shaheen
When the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish died in 2008, his friends visited his home and retrieved poems and writings that were never published before. Some of what was found is gathered together in this volume, translated into English for the first time. This book includes three collections from different phases in Darwish’s writing career, as well as reminiscences by friends drawn from the poet’s final years, and a moving account of the discovery of the new poems in this collection written by Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury. The title of the collection and some of its lines “might be said to be the last words spoken by the poet,” observes his friend Elias Khoury in his introduction. That these may have been among Darwish’s last words heightens the emotional impact of both the poem’s craft and the faultless translation. “He says to her as they gaze at a rose/Which scratches the wall: death came a little nearer to me,” Darwish writes in the title poem. The image of the rose functions as an emblem for the possibility—of empathy, kindness, enlightenment, and perhaps liberation—that art opens within political life.

42. IN JERUSALEM AND OTHER POEMS by Tamim Al-Barghouti
Son of the late Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti and the late Egyptian novelist Radwa Ashour, Tamim Al-Barghouti is probably one of the most widely read Palestinian poets of his generation. He is celebrated all over the Arab world for his charismatic performances. His poetry readings are attended by thousands, sometimes packing soccer stadiums. IN JERUSALEM AND OTHER POEMS is the first English translation of his poetry, which rings with irony, fury, scorn, and despair, as well as moments of tender sympathy. These poems continually surprise us with their images, insights, and juxtapositions. His long poem “In Jerusalem,” which describes an aborted journey to the city, became something of a street poem. Sections of the poem have even become ring-tones blaring out from cell phones across the Arab world, and children compete in memorizing and reciting it.

43. PALESTINE AS METAPHOR by Mahmoud Darwish; edited by Carolyn Forche and Amira El-Zein
This is the first English publication of interviews with Mahmoud Darwish, the beloved Palestinian poet and thinker. These interviews—elegantly translated by Amira El-Zein and Carolyn Forche—are a rich trove of Darwish’s reflections on his art, personal revelations, and political insight. These vivid dialogues, conducted by several writes and journalists, unravel the threads of a rich life haunted by the loss of Palestine and illuminate the genius and the distress of a major world poet. They will be enjoyed by all those who have enjoyed reading his poetry and prose collections.

Biographies and Memoirs / Essays

44. GLORY TO GOD IN THE LOWEST: JOURNEYS TO AN UNHOLY LANDby Donald Wagner, with a foreword by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Phyllis Bennis
Donald Wagner’s memoir is a personal, political, and religious journey from Evangelical Christian faith and conservative politics to solidarity with the poor and advocacy for anti-war, anti-racism, and Palestinian rights. It is a moving story of transformation by justice—from Christian Zionism, political apathy, and militarism to prophetic advocacy and liberation for Palestinians in the “unholy land.” It is a rare and insightful look at the Palestinian struggle for freedom and a forceful challenge to Christian Zionism and settler-colonialism. I highly recommend reading it.

In this volume of new writing, fifteen innovative and outstanding Palestinian writers—essayists, poets, novelists, critics, artists and memoirists—respond with their reflections, experiences, memories and polemics. Their contributions—poignant, humorous, intimate, reflective, intensely political—make for an offering that is remarkable for the candor and grace with which it explores the many individual and collective experiences of waiting, living for, and seeking Palestine. Contributors include: Lila Abu-Lughod, Susan Abulhawa, Suad Amiry, Rana Barakat, Mourid Barghouti, Beshara Doumani, Sharif S. Elmusa, Rema Hammami, Mischa Hiller, Emily Jacir, Penny Johnson, Fady Joudah, Jean Said Makdisi, Karma Nabulsi, Raeda Sa’adeh, Raja Shehadeh, and Adania Shibli.

Forthcoming this spring, this is a Palestinian woman’s thoughtful collection of essays exploring what it means to be a young secular Muslim woman today. It offers a dazzling exploration of heritage, gender, and the idea of home. In it, N.S. Nuseibeh reflects on her ancestor Nusayba, the only woman warrior to have fought alongside the Prophet Muhammad at the dawn of Islam. It is masterful tapestry that probes questions of identity, inheritance, faith, feminism, and home. I am proud and super excited about this book’s release.

47. MY DAMASCUS by Suad Amiry
Suad Amiry is a Palestinian treasure. She is a celebrated writer and architect. My Damascus, her latest beautifully written memoir, is a nostalgic voyage that reveals the Syrian capital’s majestic allure and becomes a metaphor for a dispersed family and a lost past. In it, she takes the reader by the hand through not only the narrow alleys and lively souqs adjacent to the grand Umayyad Mosque, but also into the intimate spaces of her rich merchant grandfather’s Baroudi Mansion. Filled with drama, with touches of dark humor, My Damascus is Amiry’s homage to a timeless city. It makes for a delightfully enjoyable read.

Winner of the Palestine Book Award, the memoirs of Wasif Jawhariyyeh are a remarkable treasure trove of writings on the life, culture, music, and history of Jerusalem. Spanning over four decades, from 1904 to 1948, they cover a period of enormous and turbulent change in Jerusalem’s history, but change lived and recalled from the daily vantage point of the street storyteller. Oud player, music lover and ethnographer, poet, collector, partygoer, satirist, civil servant, local historian, devoted son, husband, father, and person of faith, Wasif viewed the life of his city through multiple roles and lenses. The result is a vibrant, unpredictable, sprawling collection of anecdotes, observations, and yearnings as varied as the city itself. Reflecting the times of Ottoman rule, the British mandate, and the run-up to the founding of the state of Israel, The Storyteller of Jerusalem offers intimate glimpses of people and events, and of forces promoting confined, divisive ethnic and sectarian identities.

49. THE JOURNEY by Radwa Ashour, translated by Michelle Hartman
Radwa Ashour is a great literary figure whose writing I’ve devoured and whose activism I’ve admired for a long time. The Journey narrates the years which Ashour spent in the US and captures so vividly the spirit and ethos of the time it chronicles—the early ‘70s. It is as relevant today as when it was first published in Arabic nearly 40 years ago. Never neutral and deeply engaged in politics, literature, people’s struggles, a young Radwa Ashour charts her years as a student in the US of the 1970s, where she would become the first PhD student to graduate from the newly founded W.E.B Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies and the English Department of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1975. It is a delightful read.

Children’s Picture Books

50. SITTI’S BIRD: A GAZA STORY by Malak Mattar
This is a sensitive and heart-warming story of how a little girl in Gaza finds strength and hope through her discovery of painting. It is a unique children’s picture book, written and illustrated by Palestinian artist, Malak Mattar. Reflecting her experiences of childhood in occupied Palestine, Malak’s story brings warmth and wonder to children as it tells of her rebirth as an artist during the 2014 airstrikes on Gaza. It is the story of a young girl whose love for her family and discovery of art help her channel her fears and overcome traumas that few of us can imagine—traumas shared by countless children in Gaza and around the world.

51. WE ARE PALESTINIAN: A CELEBRATION OF CULTURE AND TRADITION by Reem Kassis; illustrated by Noha Eilouti
This book is now back in stock after its 3rd printing. This amazing picture book celebrates everything Palestinian! The new shipment should be arriving from the printers any day now. This visually-stunning and richly-inspiring, 112-page picture book is a joyous celebration of an enduring culture and tradition—a living culture in ALL its splendor and beauty. Leafing through its pages you will find Palestine through culture and food, music, literature, and so much more. Every spread is filled with wonderful anecdotes, fascinating facts, and memorable quotes. Every word, every feature, every profile, and every illustration is an act of resistance in the face of those trying to deny our existence. You are going to love it!

52. THE STORYTELLER OF DAMASCUS by Rafik Schami; illustrated by Peter Knorr; translated by Michel Moushabeck
Selected as Kirkus Best Children’s Book of the Year, which called it “A writing, translation, and illustration masterpiece,” this stunningly-illustrated picture book is filled with love, intrigue, courage, loyalty, and the sounds and smells of old Damascus. It is perfect for children ages 8 to 12, even though it will also be enjoyed as a read-aloud by children as young as 5 years old. It tells the story of an old storyteller who roams through the old quarter of Damascus. For only one piaster, he offers to show the children the wonders of the world. The children look through the peepholes of his magic box, which he carries on his back from one neighborhood to the next. Truly enchanting!

53. THE GHOUL by Taghreed Najjar; illustrated by Hassan Manasra; translated by Michel Moushabeck
The Ghoul is a beautifully written and illustrated story that can be used as a springboard to discuss how we perceive those who are different and how our fears and prejudices may be built on false assumptions. It received a starred review and was selected by Kirkus as Best Children’s Book of the Year: “A stimulating and funny fantasy about acceptance … great potential to serve caregivers and educators in facilitating discussions about perceiving—and more importantly, accepting—the ‘other’ despite differences and initial assumptions.”

54. ARAB FAIRY TALE FEASTS: A LITERARY COOKBOOK by Karim Alrawi; illus. by Nahid Kazemi
This charming, whimsical, and beautifully illustrated book will capture children’s fancy and will be enjoyed by the whole family. Award-winning writer and storyteller, Karim Alrawi, draws on his deep knowledge of Arab culture to create original stories that are a feast for young imaginations. Told with intriguing details, the tales take young readers on a delicious cultural journey and invite them to consider an Arab perspective. Each tale symbolically incorporates food and concludes with a traditional recipe, lovingly flavored with colorful folkloric illustrations, making this a literary banquet to savor with family and friends across generations time and again. My all-time favorite children’s cookbook.

55. WHAT SHALL WE PLAY NOW? by Taghreed Najjar, illustrated by Charlotte Shama
This is the latest picture book from Palestinian children’s writer Taghreed Najjar, the award-winning author of The Ghoul and pioneer of children’s literature in the Arab world. It is a fun picture book about the power of imagination. Just imagine all the things children can do with a green piece of cloth. Will they turn it into the sail of a pirate ship or into a small tent? Just imagine. Will they turn it into a beautiful butterfly that will fly from one flower to another or into a super heroine that will protect everybody from evil? Just imagine… In this beautifully illustrated book, Raya and Samar just imagine and have great fun playing with a green piece of cloth. In a review Publishers Weekly said it “fuels a day of imaginative play for two children in this lively picture book … Shama’s narrative illustrations expressively capture the way the item helps the children to envision entire worlds.”  In short, this delightful and highly-recommended picture book from a Palestinian writer celebrates the imagination and creativity of children.

Young Adult Titles

56. IDA IN THE MIDDLE by Nora Lester Murad
Now available in paperback, Interlink’s first young adult novel won this year’s Arab American Book Award. It is an important coming of age story that explores identity, place, voice, and belonging. Every time violence erupts in the Middle East, Ida knows what’s coming next. Some of her classmates treat her like it’s all her fault—just for being Palestinian! In eighth grade, Ida is forced to move to a different school. But people still treat her like she’ll never fit in. Ida wishes she could disappear. Readers will connect to Ida’s struggles as a 13-year-old Palestinian American trying to grapple with anti-Arab racism at school and her relationship to a homeland she has never seen. Beautifully written, this YA novel is a must read!

57. A HAND FULL OF STARS by Rafik Schami, translated by Rika Lesser
This novel was Winner of the Mildred L. Batchelder Award. Warmed by a great sense of humor and set against the background and turmoil of modern Damascus, it tells the story of one teenage boy who finds his political voice in a message of rebellion that echoes throughout Syria. Inspired by his dearest friend, old Uncle Salim, he begins a journal to record his thoughts and impressions of family, friends, life at school, and his growing feelings for his girlfriend, Nadia. Soon the hidden diary becomes more than just a way to remember his daily adventures; on its pages he explores his frustration with the government injustices he witnesses. His courage and ingenuity finally find an outlet when he and his friends begin a subversive underground newspaper. I highly recommend it for ages 12 and up.

58. WONDROUS JOURNEYS IN STRANGE LANDS by Sonia Nimr, translated by Marcia Lynx Qualey
Sonia Nimr’s debut novel won the 2021 Palestine Book Award, the Etisalat Award, received a Kirkus starred review, and was selected Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews. It kept me up all night when I first read it in Arabic. Thanks to a beautiful English translation by Marcia Lynx Qualey, you can now read it too. Publishers Weekly called it “Spellbinding … Nimr’s rip-roaring feminist folktale combines legend and history to great effect.” This richly imagined historical fable recalls the famous travel narratives of the 14th century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta. It follows the adventures of Qamar, a young Palestinian woman, who sets out on a daring journey to discover the world—on caravans and ships, across empires. But the captivating adventures of our heroine are the wondrous journeys we take when we discover we can do more than we ever dreamed possible, even in strange lands that decree we cannot.

This is a bright and accessible collection of 27 traditional folk tales. Women are the center of these lively tales that have been told and retold in Palestinian and Lebanese families for generations. Authentically Arab in their themes, yet timelessly universal, they are sometimes magical, sometimes naturalistic, and combine a wealth of vivid detail with elements of pathos and humor. The book is a precious store of the kind of tale endlessly cherished but in danger of disappearing.

60. TALES OF JUHA: CLASSIC ARAB FOLK HUMOR retold by Salma Khadra Jayyusi
Juha is an old Arab comic literary figure (known also to Persians and Turks) around whom countless popular anecdotes were written. He appears variously as preacher and beggar, porter and petty merchant, thief and honest man, judge and social critic, wise man and fool, jester and charlatan (though never as wealthy man or oppressor). While the subject matter is Arab or otherwise Islamic, the humor transcends national and cultural boundaries to achieve a universality that is instantly recognizable and accessible today.

This book is a treasure and I am very proud to be publishing it. Through the moving story of a village and a people, this book invites us to witness the struggles and daily hardships of young Palestinians living in Silwan, a village located just outside the ancient walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. As Silwani youth and community members share their lives with us, their village becomes an easily accessible way to understand Palestinian history and current reality. Noura Erakat praised this book as “a must-read book for all ages and stands to fill a critical gap in US standard curricula.” I can’t agree more.


This beautifully-written and photographed cookbook is a celebration of South Asian flavors and spices. Inspired by the core principles of Ramadan, this book has more than 90 recipes, including show-stopping breakfasts, simple and satisfying dinners, and feasting dishes to share. Whether you’re looking for the best ways to break your fast or you simply want to eat well throughout the year, a desi twist is always delicious.

63. FOREVER BEIRUT: RECIPES AND STORIES FROM THE HEART OF LEBANON by Barbara Abdeni Massaad, with a foreword by Chef José Andrés
Written by renowned Lebanese American chef and award-winning cookbook writer Barbara Abdeni Massaad, Forever Beirut is a collection of 100 easy-to-prepare recipes that celebrate Beirut’s rich culinary heritage, its resilience, and healing power. It is Barbara’s way of honoring the city of her childhood, her dreams, her Lebanese family kitchen, and the food that roots her. It is filled with stories and anecdotes about the customs, food, people, and traditions, with sections for soups, salads, breads and savory pastries, mezze, kibbeh, grilling, main dishes, pickles and preserves, and sweets. With beautiful food and location photography, Forever Beirut is a must-have for cooks who love healthful and delicious Middle Eastern food.

64. BALADI: PALESTINE by Joudie Kalla
The new, cheaper flexi-bound edition of this book is now available. Joudie Kalla, author of the bestselling Palestine on a Plate, introduces readers to more of the Middle East’s best kept secret—Palestinian cuisine. “Baladi” means “my home, my land, my country,” and Joudie once again pays homage to her homeland of Palestine by showcasing its wide ranging, vibrant and truly delicious dishes. Palestine is a country of different seasons and landscapes, and it is these diverse conditions that create the many and varied ingredients featured in the book. With stunning color photographs to accompany each recipe, the book is also interspersed with shots of the landscapes, streets, and people of Palestine, reflecting the rich culinary culture running through the whole country.

This cookbook is now available in a flexi-bound edition. It was praised by Sami Tamimi, author of Falastin as follows: “The food of Palestine mouth-watering and colorful. This treasure-trove of a book shows it at its best.” If you do not already own a copy of this amazing cookbook then you don’t know what you are missing. Joudie Kalla is the doyenne of Palestinian cuisine and her recipes are easy-to-make and are created with a lot of love. Her cookbook gives you a beautifully photographed cultural tour of Palestine with over 80 traditional recipes. You will experience the wonderful flavors of Palestine with each and every recipe. If you already own a copy, you should also consider getting her second cookbook Baladi: Palestine.

We are so thrilled with all the media attention this great cookbook has garnered. It is truly a gem! It was selected by Food 52 as one of its best cookbooks of the year. Sumac is filled with traditional and contemporary Syrian recipes that were inspired by personal stories. The gorgeous photography illustrates how beautiful Syria was and still is, and family photographs add depth to the author’s history. Anas Atassi presents the food that creates the feeling of home, gathering memories, flavors, and dishes both as homage to his mother and his homeland.

The newest release from prolific food writer Sally Butcher, Veganistan is full of healthy, accessible, and delicious vegan recipes for everyone, inspired by a Middle Eastern kitchen. And it is a GREAT read! This is not a book written from a moral point of view, but primarily from a food angle, a way of exploring and celebrating the wonders of Central Asian, Iranian, Turkish, Arab, and East African vegetable cooking and creating a volume of accessible dishes. In its starred review, Publishers Weekly praised it “[A] fun and enticing volume … An expert guide to grilling vegetables and unique beverage concoctions … The result is a vegan cookbook with real universal appeal.”

68. MAN’OUSHE by Barbara Abdeni Massaad
I simply can’t get through a week without a man’oushe. If you do not know what it is, check out this beautifully photographed cookbook about the cherished Lebanese pie that is fast becoming the world’s most favorite snack. Here, Lebanese chef and cookbook author Barbara Abdeni Massaad gives you everything you need to know about the man’oushe so you can prepare simple, delicious, and unforgettable meals that take only a few minutes. You will also love Barbara’s follow up companion Mouneh: Preserving Foods for the Lebanese Pantry. 

Complete with heartfelt stories, stunning photography, and beautiful illustrations, Imad’s Syrian Kitchen features 90 sensational recipes celebrating the flavors of Syria. This is the first cookbook by Imad Alarnab, a renowned chef from Damascus whose acclaimed restaurant in London, which was named GQ’s “Best Breakthrough Restaurant 2022.” Imad introduces us to the delicious flavors and techniques of the Syrian kitchen and shares the unforgettable details of how he came to settle in London, as well as the story of his home country, Syria. This book is a celebration of how food has the power to bring people together.

The Aleppo Cookbook won The Art of Eating Prize in 2017. It was also selected as Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly, to name a few. This book is now also available in an attractive paperback edition. The rich culinary heritage of Aleppo comes to life in this tribute to the Syrian city at the ancient Mediterranean crossroads.

With beautiful location photography and delicious recipes, this stunning cookbook is an enthralling Andalusian culinary journey from sierra to sea. It received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and others. Booklist praised it as follows: “Both cookbook and travelogue, this homage to the land of the Arabs and Berbers reveals mouth-watering and educational excursions into the region’s little towns and the kitchens of local professional chefs and home cooks. A little history adds to the mix, as Dunlop explains how eight centuries of Moorish rule (from the eighth to the fifteenth century) defined southern Spain’s personality, culinary and otherwise. Glorious color photographs alone beckon … A true work of art and love.” 

Behind closed doors, North African home cooks are taking the region’s food to new heights. Traditional dishes such as tagines, stews, soups, and salads are being adapted and refined, and new dishes are being created using classic ingredients such as fiery spices, jewel-like dried fruits, lemons, and armfuls of fresh herbs. The North African Kitchen is the result of Fiona Dunlop’s long fascination with the region. She visits eight of the best home cooks in Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya, shopping and cooking with them, and learning their favorite recipes and cooking tricks.

History and Current Affairs

Suárez shows how the violent take-over of Palestine by a European racial-nationalist settler movement, Zionism, used terror to assert by force a claim to the land that has no legal or moral basis. Drawing extensively from original source documents, many revealed here for the first time, he interweaves secret intelligence reports, newly-declassified military and diplomatic correspondence, and the terrorists’ own records boasting of their successes. His shocking account details a litany of Zionist terrorism against anyone in their way—the indigenous Palestinians, the British who had helped establish Zionism, and Jews who opposed the Zionist agenda. Ilan Pappé praises Suárez’s diligent research and calls it “A tour de force”. Similarly, Salman Abu Sitta hails it as “an eye-opener, a must-read to clear the fog of deliberate deception used to shield Israel’s crimes against Palestine.” Drawing extensively from original source documents, Suárez interweaves secret intelligence reports and newly-declassified military and diplomatic correspondence in his shocking account of Zionist terrorism. In my view, this is one of the most important books I’ve ever read on the subject.

On August 4, 2020, a massive explosion in the Beirut port decimated much of the capital city. This is a must-have collection of true stories of survival, strength, and solidarity. Here’s how Amin Maalouf praised the book: “Great tragedies in history often generate one epic moment that fully encapsulates the pain, the rage, and the absurdity of it all. The Beirut explosion was, undoubtedly, such an event. Decades of war and destruction, so many lives broken and wasted, a nation humiliated and plundered by those who were supposed to protect it. And suddenly, in a single blast, everything is shattered, everything is exposed, everything is revealed. On that fateful day in August, the authors of this book obviously suffered; they wept; they tried to comfort their loved ones; then they wiped their tears and began to write. Their testimony is powerful, as literature can be powerful when it discards all that is futile to focus on what is humanly essential.”

This book is a brilliant, comprehensive history and analysis of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which we published in the run up to its 100th anniversary. First published by Longman Green, London, this book had a short life; the entire stock and the publisher’s premises were destroyed by the german blitz in 1941. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 is a document that profoundly affected the Middle East. Palestine: The Reality is an expertly researched inside story of the Declaration. It is also a vivid and personal account in which J.M.N. Jeffries exposes the real authors and progenitors of the Balfour Declaration, along with their personal stories, motives, conspiracies, and political aims. The author also details the other international players who were involved in the creation of the “Balfour” document, and offers a clear-sighted perspective on the broken agreements with Britain’s Arab allies that enabled the Declaration and dispossessed the Palestinian Arabs of their homeland. A MUST-READ!

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