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    The Stage Warriors are women from around the world who use theater to talk about war, politics, crime, abuse, and violence in nations where these subjects are taboo. The interviews in this book explain why these women launch drama onto troubled waters, who they help, and the importance of their work.

    Beyond the boundaries of poverty, religion, and intolerance these women use theater to broaden citizen participation, bring focus and energy, and reshape national identity. Through the shows and workshops they create, the Warriors are finding ways to help the disenfranchised exert power in education, politics, the economy, and the home.

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    Looking Both Ways is a collection of interlinked essays that explores family, language, politics, identity, and culture, often with a touch of humor.  These essays move across time and space, beginning in Egypt and crossing the ocean to follow the author’s travels and the challenges of adapting to American culture and creating a family in her new world. 

    The collection is divided into four sections.  “Making Home,” centers on the notion of home, beginning in Egypt in the 1960s and moving toward the U.S.  “In Transit,” examines the connection between place and identity.  “With Caution,” engages with the idea of danger, highlighting issues related to being Arab in America.  “Time Difference,” begins with the 2011 Egyptian Uprising and delves into the blurring of cultural experience between Egypt and the U.S.  

    From recounting her attempt to retrieve a stolen nativity camel to relaying her sense of cultural indignation when her husband tells her to follow a recipe, these essays use humor to dive deeper into the experience of what it means to live as an Egyptian in the United States.  Other essays confront more difficult topics, such as being called “Osama Bin Laden” by some young boys the day after Bin Laden was killed or experiencing the 2011 Egyptian revolution while living in America.  

    Together, these essays create the impression of a memoir as they weave together to reflect the larger narrative of immigration.  This book explores culture, identity, and displacement, offering a unique vision into the Arab American immigrant experience. 

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    [Coming Soon]

    Twenty-five paintings by Helen Zughraib accompanied by text based on favorite stories told by her father about life in Syria and Lebanon in the 1930s and during World War II.

     

    Helen's father was born in the Old Quarter of Damascus during Ottoman times when Le Grande Syrie included the lands that are now demarked as Syria and Lebanon. His father and mother were from the villages of Zahle and Durer Shweir in the Lebanese mountains, first cousins in an arranged marriage.

    "Let me tell you a story," Helen Zughaib's father used to say. What followed were absorbing tales of her father's childhood in Damascus, village life in Lebanon in the late 1930s, amusing relatives, happenings in their local Greek Orthodox Church, and major events in her father's young life that lead him to emigrate to the United States in 1946.

    Helen Zughaib is an award-winning artist who has developed a distinctive technique working in gouache and ink. She was born in Beirut, educated in the Middle East, Paris, and the US. She is currently based in Washington.

    Zughaib uses folkloric elements and a wide variety of other visual references to express the life and outlook of her family, the village community of her father's young adult life, and her position as an international woman with special insight and empathy for the Middle East and its people.

    Critics note the parallels between Zughaib's work as an artist with Arab roots to the art of contemporary "Native, Latin, and African American communities." (Maymanah Farhat)

     

    For More:
    Cultural Understanding in the Art of Helen Zughaib (by Maymanah Farhat) 
    www.onefineart.com/articles/helen-zughaib


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Aswat: Voices from a Small Planet
A new series from Cune Press that features authors writing from their own experience. Aswat (Arabic for “voices”) provides a space for voices that are honest, questioning, contemplative, and courageous: voices that narrate lives, challenge boundaries, map new geographies, or remap old ones. We have a special focus on writers with a connection to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

Aswat Series Editor
Lisa Suhair Majaj (1960) is a Palestinian-American poet and scholar. Born in Hawarden Iowa, Majaj was raised in Jordan. She earned a BA in English literature from American University of Beirut and an MA in English Literature, an MA in American Culture, and a PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan. Her poetry and essays have been widely published. In 2008, she was awarded the Del Sol Press Annual Poetry Prize for her book Geographies of Light.
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