2017 Arab American Museum Book Awards

2017 Arab American Museum Book Awards
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2017 Arab American Museum Book Awards

2017 ARAB AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS MARKS SEVERAL FIRSTS FOR WINNING AUTHORS

Alameddine wins second award; Charara nominated in two categories

Dearborn, Mich. (July 31, 2017) – After a detailed selection process, the winners of the 2017 Arab American Book Awards have been announced. The annual literary program honoring books by and about Arab Americans, now in its 11th year, is highlighted by several firsts for its authors.
Following his 2015 award for An Unnecessary Woman, Rabih Alameddine is receiving his second Arab American Book Award, winning the fiction category again with The Angel of History.
Hayan Charara, originally from Detroit and a graduate of Wayne State University, is the first author to be honored in two categories in the same year with Something Sinister (Winner: George Ellenbogen Poetry Award) and The Three Lucys (Honorable Mention: Children/Young Adult).

Working as both author and pediatric nurse, Michelle Chalfoun’s first book for young readers, The Treasure of Maria Mamoun, has won her the award for the Children/Young Adult category.
Awardees will be honored during a ceremony held at the Arab American National Museum (AANM) on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. The ceremony will include readings and opportunities to purchase the winning books and have them signed by authors in attendance, including Rabih Alameddine, Michelle Chalfoun and Hayan Charara.
The ceremony is free and open to the public; RSVP requested at http://bit.ly/aanmbooks2017.

This national literary competition—the only one of its kind in the United States—is designed to honor books by and about Arab Americans. It is one of many Museum programs that draw attention to the achievements and contributions of Arab Americans and help build community through the arts.

The winners of the 2017 Arab American Book Awards are:

WINNER: Fiction Award
The Angel of History
By Rabih Alameddine

HONORABLE MENTION: Fiction
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
By Mona Awad

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WINNER: Evelyn Shakir Non-Fiction Award
Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine
By Steven Salaita

HONORABLE MENTION: Non-Fiction
Industrial Sexuality: Gender, Urbanization, and Social Transformation in Egypt
By Hanan Hammad

WINNER: George Ellenbogen Poetry Award
Something Sinister
By Hayan Charara

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Poetry
One Hundred Hungers
By Lauren Camp

Hagar Poems
By Mohja Kahf

WINNER: Children/Young Adult
The Treasure of Maria Mamoun
By Michelle Chalfoun

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Children/Young Adult
The Three Lucys
By Hayan Charara (author) and Sara Kahn (illustrator)

Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine
By Ibtisam Barakat

Scroll down or visit http://www.arabamericanmuseum.org/bookaward for information about this year’s winners and honorable mentions. A call for submissions for the 2018 awards will be issued in December 2017.

2017 ARAB AMERICAN BOOK AWARD WINNERS

WINNER: Fiction Award

The Angel of History
By Rabih Alameddine
(New York: Grove Atlantic, 2016)

Set over the course of one night in the waiting room of a psych clinic, The Angel of History follows Yemeni-born poet Jacob as he revisits the events of his life, from his maternal upbringing in an Egyptian whorehouse to his adolescence under the aegis of his wealthy father and his life as a gay Arab man in San Francisco at the height of AIDS. Hovered over by the presence of alluring, sassy Satan, who taunts Jacob to remember his painful past, and dour, frigid Death, who urges him to forget and give up on life, Jacob is also attended to by 14 saints. With Jacob recalling his life in Cairo, Beirut, Sana’a, Stockholm and San Francisco, Alameddine gives us a charged philosophical portrayal of a brilliant mind in crisis. This carefully crafted novel guides the reader through fields of pain, irony, humor, self-loathing, deep friendships, tender treatment of love, loss and grief, intermingled with biting political and social critique.

Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels Koolaids; I, the Divine; The Hakawati; and An Unnecessary Woman, which received the Arab American Book Award in 2015 and was a finalist for the National Book Award. He divides his time between San Francisco and Beirut. Follow him on Twitter @RabihAlameddine.

WINNER: Evelyn Shakir Non-Fiction Award

Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine
By Steven Salaita
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016)

Steven Salaita argues that American Indian and Indigenous studies must be more central to the scholarship and activism focusing on Palestine. His discussion includes a fascinating inside account of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement; a wide range of Native poetry; the speeches of U.S. President Andrew Jackson; and the discourses of “shared values” between the United States and Israel.

Steven Salaita is author of several books, including Uncivil Rites: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom and Israel’s Dead Soul. He edited Modern Arab American Fiction: A Reader’s Guide, which was a 2012 Arab American Book Award Honorable Mention.

WINNER: George Ellenbogen Poetry Award

Something Sinister
By Hayan Charara
(Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016)

The poems in Something Sinister grapple with conflicts arising from a world in which the personal, political, cultural, and aesthetic are deeply entangled and often troubling. Charara does not shy away from the tensions, unease, doubts, regrets or bafflement of this world. His wide-ranging focus brings together people from all walks of life: a father obsessed with the boxer Muhammad Ali; a girl missing since the 1970s; a mother and daughter trapped in a submerged vehicle; and a suicide bomber, his witnesses, and victims.

Hayan Charara is a poet, children’s book author, essayist, and editor. His previous poetry books are The Sadness of Others (2006) and The Alchemist’s Diary (2001). His children’s book, The Three Lucys (2016), received the New Voices Award Honor and a 2017 Arab American Book Award honorable mention. Charara edited Inclined to Speak (2008), an anthology of contemporary Arab American poetry. With Fady Joudah, he is also a series editor of the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize. His honors include a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lucille Joy Prize in Poetry from the University of Houston creative writing program, and the John Clare Prize. A Detroit native, Charara currently teaches in the Honors College at the University of Houston.

WINNER: Children/Young Adult

The Treasure of Maria Mamoun
By Michelle Chalfoun
(New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 2016)

Twelve-year-old Maria lives a lonely, latchkey-kid’s life in the Bronx. Her Lebanese mother is working two nursing jobs to keep them afloat, and Maria keeps her worries to herself, not wanting to be a burden. Then something happens one day between home and school that changes everything. Mom whisks them to an altogether different world on Martha’s Vineyard, where she’s found a job on a seaside estate. While the mysterious bedridden owner keeps her mother busy, Maria has the freedom to explore a place she thought could only exist in the movies. Making friends with a troublesome local character, Maria finds an old sailboat and stumbles upon a map that she is sure will lead to pirate’s plunder, but golden treasure may not be the most valuable thing she discovers for herself this special summer.

Michelle Chalfoun is a pediatric nurse who lives with her husband and children on Long Island, New York. The Treasure of Maria Mamoun is her first book for young readers.

2017 Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mention: Fiction

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
By Mona Awad
(New York: Penguin Books, 2016)

In her brilliant, hilarious and at times shocking debut, Mona Awad simultaneously skewers the body image-obsessed culture that tells women they have no value outside their physical appearance, and delivers a tender and moving depiction of a lovably difficult young woman whose life is hijacked by her struggle to conform. As caustically funny as it is heartbreaking, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl introduces a vital new voice in fiction.

Mona Awad received her MFA in fiction from Brown University. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Walrus, Joyland, Post Road, St. Petersburg Review, and many other journals. She is currently pursuing a PhD in creative writing and English literature at the University of Denver.

Honorable Mention: Non-fiction

Industrial Sexuality: Gender, Urbanization, and Social Transformation in Egypt
By Hanan Hammad
(Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2016)

Reconstructing the ordinary urban experiences of workers in al-Mahalla al-Kubra, home of the largest and most successful Egyptian textile factory, Industrial Sexuality investigates how the industrial urbanization of Egypt transformed masculine and feminine identities, sexualities, and public morality. Basing her account on archival sources that no researcher has previously used, Hanan Hammad describes how coercive industrial organization and hierarchy concentrated thousands of men, women, and children at work and at home under the authority of unfamiliar men, thus intensifying sexual harassment, child molestation, prostitution, and public exposure of private heterosexual and homosexual relationships. By juxtaposing these social experiences of daily life with national modernist discourses, Hammad demonstrates that ordinary industrial workers, handloom weavers, street vendors, lower-class landladies and prostitutes played a key role in shaping the Egyptian experience of modernity.

Hanan Hammad is Associate Professor and Director of Middle East Studies at Texas Christian University.

Honorable Mentions: Poetry (2)

One Hundred Hungers
By Lauren Camp
(North Adams, MA: Tupelo Press, 2016)

In her new collection, Lauren Camp explores the lives of a first-generation Arab American girl and her Jewish Iraqi parent. One Hundred Hungers tells overlapping stories of food and ritual, immigration and adaptation, evoking her father’s boyhood in Baghdad in the 1940s at a time when tensions began to emerge along ethnic and religious lines. She also draws upon memories of Sabbath dinners in her grandparents’ new home in America to reveal how family culture persists.

Lauren Camp is author of two previous books of poems, This Business of Wisdom (West End Press, 2010) and The Dailiness (Edwin E. Smith, 2013), which was an “Editor’s Pick” by World Literature Today and winner of the National Federation of Press Women’s 2014 Poetry Book Prize. Since 2004, she has produced and hosted Santa Fe Public Radio’s Audio Saucepan, which entwines music with contemporary poetry. She lives in New Mexico.

Hagar Poems
By Mohja Kahf
(Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 2016)

The central matter of this new collection is the story of Hagar, Abraham, and Sarah — the ancestral feuding family of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These poems delve into the Hagar story in Islam. They explore other figures from the Near Eastern heritage, such as Mary and Moses, and touch on figures from early Islam, such as Fatima and Aisha. Throughout, there is artful reconfiguring. Readers will find sequels and prequels to the traditional narratives, along with modernized figures claimed for contemporary conflicts. Hagar Poems is a compelling shakeup of not only Hagar’s story but also of current roles of all kinds of women in all kinds of relationships.

Mohja Kahf was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1967 to parents who immigrated to the United States in 1971. She is the author of a poetry book, E-mails from Scheherazad, and a novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf.

Honorable Mentions: Children/Young Adult (2)

The Three Lucys
By Hayan Charara (author) and Sara Kahn (illustrator)
(New York: Lee & Low Books, 2016)

A young Lebanese boy must learn to cope with loss and hope for a peaceful future after losing one of his beloved cats because of The July War. This picture book is based on the month-long conflict between Lebanon and Israel during the summer of 2006. The book received the New Voices Award Honor and was featured on School Library Journal’s “Best Books of 2016” list.

Hayan Charara is a poet, children’s book author, essayist, and editor. His poetry books are Something Sinister (Winner of the 2017 Arab American Book Award), The Sadness of Others and The Alchemist’s Diary. Charara edited Inclined to Speak, an anthology of contemporary Arab American poetry. With Fady Joudah, he is also a series editor of the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize. His honors include a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lucille Joy Prize in Poetry from the University of Houston creative writing program, and the John Clare Prize. A Detroit native, Charara currently teaches in the Honors College at the University of Houston.

Sara Kahn is an artist and illustrator currently living in San Francisco with her husband and three cats. Her illustrations using a combination of techniques have appeared in Cricket and Cicada magazines. She has won many prizes and honors for her artworks, the most recent one being the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators Magazine Merit award for illustration.

Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine
By Ibtisam Barakat
(New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016)

Picking up where Tasting the Sky left off, Balcony on the Moon follows Ibtisam Barakat through her childhood and adolescence in Palestine from 1972-1981 and chronicles her desire to be a writer. Ibtisam finds inspiration through writing letters to pen pals and from an adult who encourages her to keep at it, but the most surprising turn of all for Ibtisam happens when her mother decides that she would like to seek out an education, too. This memoir is a touching, at times funny, and enlightening look at the not often depicted daily life in a politically tumultuous area.

Ibtisam Barakat is the author of Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood, which won the 2008 Arab American Book Award. She grew up in Palestine and is an educator, poet and peace activist. She lives in Columbia, Missouri.

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The Arab American National Museum (AANM) documents, preserves and presents Arab American history, culture and contributions.

AANM – an institution of Dearborn, Mich.-based human-services agency ACCESS – is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums; an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution; and a founding member of the Immigration and Civil Rights Network of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI, 48126. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday; Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is $8 for adults; $4 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under and Museum Members, free.

Visit www.arabamericanmuseum.org or call 313.582.2266 for further information.

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rayhanania

Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and for TheArabDailyNews.com, and TheDailyHookah.com.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com www.arabnews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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