Barbara Nimri Aziz

Barbara Nimri Aziz
Roscoe, New York

Recent works: “Tahrir: Voices of the Arab Muslim Community Here and Abroad” radio series (producer and host since 1989); “Six Arab American Poets” radio series (producer), 1997; “From Cordoba to Baghdad” (producer), 1995

Favorite Writers: Mohja Kahf, Ahdaf Soueif, Ron David, Habeeb Salloum, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, David Baldacci, R. K. Narayan, Jhumpa Lahiri, Hanif Quraishi.

Quote: Although our most accomplished Arab–American writers today are poets, I expect that it will be in the area of creative prose—leading to novels, plays and films—that Arabs in this country will most forcefully articulate Arab character and history. Through fictional characters in our stories and through themes, plots and story resolutions, we demonstrate who we are and how we see the world. Our literature first helps us comprehend ourselves—where we came from, what we are and where we want to go—and fully feel our self-worth. Then, through the stories that emerge, we can move others. If African–American literature has needed several hundred years to reach its present state of diversity, participation and glory, Arab writers here need to give ourselves two or more generations to be a cultural force. When we realize we share many of our secrets and trials, complexities and possibilities with Italian, Latino, African, Irish, Pakistani and Chinese immigrants, we shed some of our loneliness, and we move ahead more swiftly.

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