Arab American National Museum announces 2010 Book Awards

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Kim Silarski
Kristin Lalonde



Gala award ceremony to be held in Washington, D.C.
Dearborn, MI (June 1, 2010) – Established American literary luminaries and compelling new voices inspired by global events are represented among the winners of the 2010 Arab American Book Award presented by the Arab American National Museum.
This national literary competition, the only one of its kind in the U.S., is designed to draw attention to books and authors dealing with the Arab American experience. The program has attracted increasing numbers of submissions in its four-year history.
This year, the Arab American Book Award ceremony will be held on Monday, October 4 at the Carnegie Institution, 1530 P Street NW in Washington, D.C. Further details on the invitation-only event will be released this summer.
Three winners emerged from the 30 books published during 2009 that were submitted for consideration; two honorable mentions were also selected, all by genre-specific review committees:
Winner – Fiction
Master of the Eclipse by Etel Adnan
Winner – Non-Fiction
Angeleno Days: An Arab American Writer on Family, Place, and Politics by Gregory Orfalea
Winner – Poetry
Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea: Poetry and Stories from Iraq by Dunya Mikhail
Honorable Mentions (Non-Fiction)
Amreeka: Arab Voices, American Stories by Alia Malek
Homeland Insecurity: The Arab American and Muslim American Experience After 9/11 by Louise A. Cainkar
Submissions are currently being accepted for the 2011 Arab American Book Award. Authors and publishers may call 313.624.0223 or email for nomination forms and criteria. Submission deadline is February 1, 2011.
The Arab American Book Award program encourages the publication and excellence of books that preserve and advance the understanding, knowledge and resources of the Arab American community by celebrating the thoughts and lives of Arab Americans. The purpose of the Award is to inspire authors, educate readers and foster a respect and understanding of the Arab American culture.
The winning titles are chosen by groups of selected readers including respected authors, university professors, artists and AANM staff. The AANM first gave these awards in 2007 for books published in 2006.
2010 Arab American Book Award Winners
(for books published in 2009)


Master of the Eclipse

By Etel Adnan
Interlink Publishing Group
From its title story, a meditation on history and war, power and poetry, to its concluding tale, a strangely human vision of a tree floating in a Damascus stream, Adnan’s painterly vision, poetic phrasing, cosmopolitan flexibility and philosophical approach are on full display. Most of the stories in Part One deal with the lives of exiles taking place in the great urban centers of the world, where crowding and loneliness shove up against one another. Part Two centers on homeland – its meaning, memories and realities. Inhabited by lovers, artists, filmmakers, poets, professors, madmen, prostitutes, murderers, recovering addicts, the young and the old, the stories in Master of the Eclipse are universal and intimate, as current as they are poetic.
Etel Adnan, the Lebanese American poet, artist, feminist and public intellectual, is the author of more than one dozen books. She was born in Lebanon to a Christian Greek mother and Muslim Syrian father, brought up speaking Greek and Turkish and French in an Arabic-speaking society, educated in a French convent school, and, as a student and an adult lived all over the world, including Paris and the East and West coasts of the U.S. Trained in philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California at Berkeley, Adnan was first a painter, then a poet. Her flexibility with language and style has allowed her to write poetry, plays, novels, short stories, essays and non-fiction. Her groundbreaking novel Sitt Marie Rose is one of the defining narratives of the Lebanese civil war. She lives in the Bay Area of California.

Angeleno Days: An Arab American Writer on Family, Place, and Politics
By Gregory Orfalea
University of Arizona Press
Populated with fascinating characters, these essays tell the story of the author’s trials. He returns to Los Angeles to teach, trying to reconcile the L.A. of his childhood with the city he now faces. He takes on progressively more difficult and painful subjects, finally confronting the memories of the shocking tragedy that took the lives of his father and sister. With more than 400,000 Arab Americans in Los Angeles, Orfalea also explores his own community and its political and social concerns.
Gregory Orfalea is the author of Arab Americans: A History as well as Messengers of the Lost Battalion, two books of poetry, and memoir pieces for the Los Angeles Times Magazine, many of which appear here for the first time in book form. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.


Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea: Poetry and Stories from Iraq

By Dunya Mikhail
New Directions
Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea transcends genres and crosses borders to present a deeply moving narrative of life in, and exile from, Baghdad. Through acute and vivid recollection of her 30 years in Iraq, Dunya Mikhail delivers her readers to a world much imagined yet rarely so intimately seen by Western eyes. Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea captivates not merely as it speaks to its present political moment, but as it tells a larger tale of cross-cultural struggle and individual perseverance.
Dunya Mikhail was born in Baghdad in 1965. She served as the literary editor of the Baghdad Observer throughout the 1990s, until harassment from Iraqi authorities forced her to flee the country. In 2001, she was awarded the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. She currently lives in Michigan and works as an Arabic resource coordinator for a public school system. Her first collection of poetry in English, The War Works Hard, was a finalist for the 2006 Griffin Poetry Prize and was chosen by the New York Public Library as one of 25 Books to Remember from 2005.
2009 Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mention: Non-Fiction

Amreeka: Arab Voices, American Stories

By Alia Malek
Free Press
What does American history look and feel like in the experiences of Arab Americans? In A Country Called Amreeka: Arab Roots, American Stories, Syrian American civil rights lawyer Alia Malek weaves the stories of the Arab American community into the story of America, using lively and moving narratives of real people  who have lived history all around the country. Each chapter of the book corresponds to one historical event as it occurred in the life of one Arab American, allowing readers to live that moment in history in the skin of an individual Arab American.

Alia Malek
 is an author and civil rights lawyer. Born in Baltimore to Syrian immigrant parents, she began her legal career as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. After working in the legal field in the U.S., Lebanon and the West Bank, Malek, who has degrees from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities, earned her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. Her reportage has appeared in SalonThe Columbia Journalism Review, and The New York TimesA Country Called Amreeka is her first book.

Honorable Mention: Non-Fiction
Homeland Insecurity: The Arab American and Muslim American Experience After 9/11
By Louise A. Cainkar
Russell Sage Foundation
In the aftermath of 9/11, many Arab and Muslim Americans came under intense scrutiny by federal and local authorities, as well as their own neighbors, on the chance that they might know, support, or actually be terrorists. As Louise Cainkar observes, even U.S.-born Arabs and Muslims were portrayed as outsiders, an image that was amplified in the months after the attacks. She argues that 9/11 did not create anti-Arab and anti-Muslim suspicion; rather, their socially constructed images and social and political exclusion long before these attacks created an environment in which misunderstanding and hostility could thrive and the government could defend its use of profiling. Combining analysis and ethnography, Homeland Insecurity provides an intimate view of what it means to be an Arab or a Muslim in a country set on edge by the worst terrorist attack in its history.
Louise A. Cainkar is assistant professor of sociology and social justice at Marquette University.
The Arab American National Museum documents, preserves, celebrates, and educates the public on the history, life, culture, and contributions of Arab Americans. It serves as a resource to enhance knowledge and understanding about Arab Americans and their presence in this country. The Arab American National Museum is a project of ACCESS, a Dearborn, Michigan-based nonprofit human services and cultural organization. Learn more at and
The Arab American National Museum is a proud Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Read about the Affiliations program at
The Museum is located at 13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI, 48126. Museum hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday; Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for students, seniors and children 6-12; ages 5 and under, free. Call 313.582.2266 for further information.
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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

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Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

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