In a time when it seems that the gap of understanding between the West and the Middle East continues to widen, Scheherazade’s Legacy builds a bridge between the two cultures. Collected here are the voices of those who define the genre of Arab Anglophone writing—that literature that describes the cultural experiences of those with Arab identities living, and often writing, in the West. Contributions from such writers as Naomi Shihab Nye, Diana Abu-Jaber, Suheir Hammad, Etal Adnan, Elmaz Abinader, and others, explore the complexities of writing in and for a culture not entirely their own. The essays here, complemented by selections, mostly original, of each author’s work, promises to be a cornerstone in the study of writing by women writers of Arab descent who find themselves between two cultures, two worlds that are often at odds.
With a foreword by Barbara Nimri Aziz, journalist, and founder of RAWI (Radius of Arab-American Writers), this collection is one of the first books to assemble the voices of women writers of Arab descent on the subject of writing itself. Contributors consider the difficulties, obstacles, joys, failures and successes of writing from an Arab perspective but largely for American audiences. They consider aspects of identity, family, politics, memory, and other crucial cultural issues that impact them personally and professionally as writers. In creative and thoughtful prose, these important women writers shed new light on what it means to be a writer in a world not fully your own.