New From Guernica: Arab-American Fiction

The June issue of Guernica features a special Arab-American fiction section curated by Randa Jarrar. In her excellent introduction to the issue, “From Alienation to Belonging,” Jarrar writes:

When I first went on the academic job market a few years ago, search committees asked what my dream class to teach would be. Arab-American Fiction, I said. They smiled, then invariably asked, “And which writers would you teach in that class?” I would enthusiastically share a list of names—Diana Abu-Jaber, Rabih Alameddine, Alicia Erian, Mohja Kahf, Patricia Sarrafian Ward, Laila Lalami, Leila Halaby—and, usually, none of the names registered. “Do you teach your own book?” some of them asked. I do not. But I do teach short stories by Grace Paley, ZZ Packer, Alice Munro, Nami Mun, Jane Bowles, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Toni Morrison (well, “Recitatif,” Morrison’s short story, and a damn good one). “Why,” some committees asked me, “do you teach American literature alongside Arab-American fiction?”

“Because,” I would answer, “Arab-American fiction is American literature.”

The issue includes fiction from Diana Abu-Jaber, Patricia Sarrafian Ward, Laila Halaby, Youmna Chlala and Alia Yunis.