The Bride of Amman is finally out in English and I am more than happy and thankful for the endorsement of the following wonderful people. I am honoured for their words.
1. Hanan Al Sheikh, author of Women of Sand and Myth, The Story of Zahra, and One Thousand and one Nights:
2. Shereen El Feki, author of Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World.
3. Matthew Weinart, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Political Science & International Relations Department, University of Delaware:
4. George Azzi, gender and sexual rights activist, co-founder of AFE and Helem:
5. Fadia Faqir, author of Willow Trees Don’t Weep:
6. Wafa AlKhadra, Professor at American University of Madaba, Jordan:
7. Nermeen Murad, Chief of Party of USAID Takamol Gender Program; writer, columnist, gender and human rights advocate:
8. Saba Mubarak, Jordanian Actress and Producer:
9. Madian Al Jazeera, owner of the books@cafe, Amman Jordan:
10. Sridhar Rangayan, film maker and activist, Mumbai, India
I can’t believe that this is finally happening. The English translation of “Aroos Amman” is finally ready and up for pre-orders. It is already out there on Amazon.com (paperback)! and a publishing date is set on 21th July. I am so happy about the translation and so thankful for Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp who has done a great job in brining my written words into English. I am also very thankful for my publisher (signal8press) for the great work put into ensuring best quality of the English production. It was a long process but I enjoyed working with both of them and witnessed them shaping what I thought to be a good book even better.
When I first started blogging in 2006, I wanted to communicate issues of sexual and body rights that were not addressed by traditional media at the time. I could see how our cultural heritage and obsession in regulating sexuality is making an already tough life due to economical conditions even tougher. I wanted to open missed debates around these issues in hope of change. Few years down the road, I was able to collect my thoughts into a full story, a novel that came out in January 2012. At the time, I didn’t anticipate this success of Aroos Amman, and didn’t anticipate the huge amount I received. People seem to be fed up with the old doctrine that limits their body and sexual freedoms. They are happy to see someone bringing it up right front and are ready to fight for it themselves.
Today with the book coming out to English, I am hoping for a wider reach that could trigger even bigger change.
Thank you all for your love and support.
I dedicate this book to Arab young men and women: those who are struggling to conform, those who are fighting for autonomy over their own bodies, and those advocating for sexual rights.
This summer, Fadi Zaghmout’s debut novel, The Bride of Amman, will be released in English, trans. Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp:
Read full article on Arablit blog:
نشرت صحيفة العرب الصادرة من لندن يوم الجمعة الماضي مجموعة من آراء القراء في رواية عروس عمان في القسم الثقافي للصحيفة. الآراء المنشورة بطريقة جميلة نقلت عن صفح الرواية على موقع جود ريدز. الغريب أن الصحيفة اختارت الغلاف القديم للطبعة الأولى للرواية وأضافت اسم دار النشر السابقة في حين صدرت الطبعة الثالثة من الرواية عن دار جبل عمان ناشرون قبل أسبوع في عمان.
It feels good to see the buzz of Arous Amman is still going through the country after more than two years of its debut. On thursday, I was hosted by Lama Zakharia for her radio show “Celebrity of the Week” on Beat FM. The interview was great, went super smooth with Lama being smart, spontaneous and professional as her audience know her. I am a big fan of her myself since I saw her performing last year in the Christmas’s musical of Dozan Awtar. I have also posted a while ago a video for her fighting sexual harassment by singing. She has an amazing voice and great talent. Watch out for her next projects. My interview will be aired next Thursday.
My interview with my kali magazine is published today after much anticipation. These guys are really talented. We are blessed to have such artistic styled magazine in Jordan. The write-up is really good from the mutli-talented Mike Derderian. Mike is another one to admire, he is an artist who produces amazing illustrations, he is a brilliant writer and a great radio show host as well. Along with the interview, my kali ran a stylised photo shoot for me. The photographs was taken by the wonderful Hiba Juda, make up by Amer Atta, hair by Ahmad Al Sa’ady, the making of video by Ala’a Abu Qasheh, and the cover/promo design by Atef Daglees. I feel so blessed to get to know all of these talented people. I also would like to dedicate a special thank you to Kali himself for putting the efforts into sustaining this magazine.
I like the smart headline of the interview “Here Comes the Groom!” in reference to me, the one behind the brides in Arous Amman. And from the interview, I specially like these few lines:
Of course, don’t just take my word for it! It is a brilliant social commentary on an Arabian society filled with mothers, daughters and sisters; working women; married women; divorced women; women pursuing academia; sexually active women; and forlorn spinsters dreaming of the perfect Arab catch. Of course it also sheds light on the misogynistic Arab man; the oppressive father; the married man; the cheating husband; and the self-righteous cousin, who is looking for an excuse to burst the bubble of any of the over-achieving females in his tribe. The main controversy surrounding Aroos Amman most probably erupted from within the pages of the chapter in which a man thinks aloud after making love; making love to another man. I have to admit it was a shocking instance to read in a book written by an Arab Jordanian writer; almost as shocking as the rape scene in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, back in 1994.
I also had a very nice discussion around Arous Amman with Alef book club at the Good Bookshop. The discussion was complimented with a homosexuality debate. Before the debate started I had the chance to give a short presentation about gender and sexuality. The issue was discussed openly from social, scientific and religious perspective. The event was organised very well and the crowd were respectful and polite. I was pretty much impressed by those youth (around 40 from both genders) discussing such matter openly and logically with full respect to each other opinion. At one point there was a veiled girl arguing against homosexuality talking closely to an openly gay man. Both were addressing their points of view genuinely with no sense of hatred towards each other. When the crowd were asked if they are with giving homosexuals their rights, most of them raised their hands in agreement! That’s something one doesn’t expect to happen in Jordan where a recent stat shows that 97% that society shouldn’t accept homosexuality! My Kali videoed the whole event, they should be posting it soon. I would also like to seize the chance and thank Tarek Abdo and Sanad Nowar for running this book club and organisation this event. That is courageous of them to tackle such issue.
Through Arous Amman I got to know about many book clubs in Jordan. I am happy to see these book clubs growing everywhere. I have to admit, Alef has just became one of my favourites. I wish them all the best.
One last good news, we are almost run out of copies of the 2nd edition of Arous Amman and will be working on a new print.