Wednesday, April 04, 2007

RAWI hosts confernece in May at Arab Museum

Arab American writers organization to hold national conference in May

DEARBORN, Mich.—The Radius of Arab American Writers, Inc. (RAWI) will
turn the city of Dearborn, Michigan into a hub for Arab American
writers when it holds its second national conference on May 17-20, at
the Arab American National Museum, 13624 Michigan Ave.

“RAWI welcomes not only its members but also others who are interested
in engaging in the Arab American literary community," said one of the
conference’s organizer, Khaled Mattawa, professor of English at the
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, and president of RAWI.

The conference will gather 150 or so writers and scholars who will
present their writings and research to one another and to the Detroit
and Arab communities. This year’s conference theme, “Writing While
Arab: Politics, Hyphens, and Homelands,” seeks to address the multiple
challenges Arab American writers face in an intensified post-9/11
climate, says Mattawa.

“I'm often asked what's happening in Arab America, or what Arab
American books teachers can use, or which writers are worth reading, or
what forms of diversity exist in this community, or where Arab
Americans come from and which spaces they inhabit,” said Steven
Salaita, Executive Director of RAWI and assistant professor of English
at Virginia Tech University. “For the past six months, my answer has
been: attend the RAWI Conference. It will be a tremendous opportunity
for those interested in learning more about Arab Americans and our
burgeoning literary tradition.”

In 21 readings and workshops open to all registered attendees ($35 for
RAWI membership and “$85 for the conference, including meals), the
writers will address such topics as:

• How is Arab American writing affected by the targeting of Arabs and
Muslims as the “national enemy” inside and outside of the U.S. and by
the wars waged in our homelands?
• How do we envision a future for our literature between the desire for
location within American culture and our transcultural experiences?
• How do we promote and teach our literature?
• How to promote our unconventional literature within the conventions
of the market place?

Some of the better known authors in attendance are Naomi Shihab Nye,
author of “Fuel,” novelist Rabih Alameddine author of “I, the Divine,”
and celebrated Iraqi poet, Fadhil Al-Azzawi, author of “Miracle Maker.”

To register, visit the RAWI Web site at
Rola Nashef, (

To attend as a member of the news media, contact: Steve Salaita,

Executive Director, (

Founded in 1993, RAWI is a network of 215 Arab American writers,
scholars and artists of all genres. Its mission is to urge members to
publish their work in mainstream publications, to support sister and
brother writers in the Arab World, to nurture emerging writers, and to
guide and bring together Arab American writers. Although devoted to the
Arab American community, RAWI accepts members of all ethnic and
national backgrounds. Its membership includes Muslims, Christians and
Jews, and is primarily American, represented by people of many national