Randa Jarrar for Al-Mutannabi

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Date(s) - 11/17/2014
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

HR – Eskenazi Hall (Herron) Room: Basile Auditorium


Randa Jarrar is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, essayist, and translator. Jarrar grew up in Kuwait and Egypt, and moved to the US after the first Gulf War.  Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Utne Reader, Salon.com, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Oxford American, Ploughshares, and Five Chapters.  In 2010, the Hay Festival and the Beirut UNESCO’s World Capital of the Book named her one of the Beirut 39 — 39 of the best known, loved, and promising writers of Arab heritage under 39 years of age.

Jarrar’s novel, A Map of Home, was published by Other Press in 2008 and issued in paperback by Penguin in 2009.  A Map of Home is the story of Nidali, the rebellious daughter of an Egyptian-Greek mother and a Palestinian father.  Nidali narrates the story of her childhood in Kuwait, her teenage years in Egypt (to where she and her family fled the 1990 Iraqi invasion), and her family’s last flight to Texas. Nidali mixes humor with a sharp, loving portrait of an eccentric middle-class family, and this perspective keeps her buoyant through the hardships she encounters: the humiliation of going through a checkpoint on a visit to her father’s home in the West Bank; the fights with her father, who wants her to become a famous professor and stay away from boys; the end of her childhood as Iraq invades Kuwait on her thirteenth birthday; and the scare she gives her family when she runs away from home.  A Map of Home has been published in half a dozen languages.  It won a Hopwood Award and an Arab-American Book Award and was named one of the best novels of 2008 by the Barnes and Noble Review.

This event is part of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Symposium and is presented in collaboration with the IUPUI Library and the Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series.

About Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here at IUPUI

On March 5, 2007, in the middle of the Iraq war, a car bomb killed dozens and injured over a hundred people.  It also devastated al-Mutanabbi Street, a busy avenue of cafés and bookstores that had served as a meeting place for generations of writers and thinkers.  In response to the attack, San Francisco bookseller Beau Beausoleil rallied a community of international artists and writers to produce “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here,” a collection of letterpress-printed broadsides (poster-like works on paper), artists’ books (unique works of art in book form) and an anthology of writing focused on expressing solidarity with Iraqi booksellers, writers and readers.

“Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” includes 260 artists’ books; a publication titled “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5, 2007, Bombing of Baghdad’s ‘Street of the Booksellers,’” plus 130 broadsides — one for every person killed or injured in the bombing.  Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will serve as one of only three repositories in the world to hold the complete collection.  It will also sponsor three biennial conferences to explore the themes and implications of the collection through papers, panels, posters and presentations with international scholars, artists and writers from a range of disciplines.