Randa Jarrar biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Randa Jarrar

Randa Jarrar

Randa Jarrar Biography

Randa Jarrar is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, and translator. Randa grew up in Kuwait and Egypt, and she moved to the US after the first Gulf War. At the age of 13, she enrolled in 10th grade, and went on to attend Sarah Lawrence College at 16. Two years later, she became a single mom, and by the age of 22, she had a Masters' degree, a four- year-old, and a desire to write a novel. She began A Map of Home at the age of 23, writing the bulk of it in a trailer in small-town Texas. A Map of Home was published in half a dozen languages & won a Hopwood Award, an Arab-American Book Award, and was named one of the best novels of 2008 by the Barnes and Noble Review. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Five Chapters, Guernica, The Oxford American, The New York Times Magazine, The Utne Reader, Salon.com, The Rumpus, and others. She has received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Hedgebrook, Caravansarai, and Eastern Frontier, and she was chosen to take part in Beirut39, which celebrates the 39 most gifted writers of Arab origin under the age of 40.

Randa Jarrar's website

This bio was last updated on 01/08/2014. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Interview

In an exclusive interview with BookBrowse reviewer Karen Rigby, Randa Jarrar discusses how her personal experiences and insights into Muslim culture are reflected in her writing, and her plans for future books.

Readers are likely to notice similarities between your bio. and Nidali's background and may wonder if the novel is something of a roman a clef - how did you go about creating her character?

Nidali and I definitely have a lot in common…she’s an exaggerated version of my younger self. She’s brave and funny. The most important thing for me was making her voice grow over the course of the book. So in the beginning her voice is very child-like, and as she approaches adulthood it becomes more profane.

I still remember where I was when the novel’s first lines came to me. For months, I’d been writing failed first chapters with characters that were similar to Nidali but not as energetic or sassy. But when those first lines came to me, that first chapter flowed out, and Nidali was finally born, both in the book and as a character. It was in the writing of that first chapter that her voice, her worldview, and her history became cemented for me.


A Map of Home--the title suggests many themes, from rootlessness to the search for home to belonging to many countries--would you speak a bit about the importance of place in your writing?

I grew up the daughter of parents who’d experienced a lot of ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Randa Jarrar at BookBrowse
A Map of Home jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Randa Jarrar but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Ayad Akhtar

    Ayad Akhtar

    Ayad Akhtar is a novelist and playwright. His work has been published and performed in over two dozen languages. He is the winner of numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and an Award in Literature from the ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    A Map of Home

    Try:
    American Dervish
    by Ayad Akhtar

  • Monica Ali

    Monica Ali

    Monica Ali is the daughter of English and Bangladeshi parents.

    She came to England at the age of three, and her first home was Bolton in Greater Manchester. Ali later studied at Oxford University.

    Her first novel, Brick ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    A Map of Home

    Try:
    Brick Lane
    by Monica Ali

We recommend 7 similar authors

View all 7 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Razorblade Tears
    Razorblade Tears
    by S. A. Cosby
    Razorblade Tears, a thriller by S.A. Cosby, follows a pair of ex-convicts who team up to avenge the ...
  • Book Jacket: Once There Were Wolves
    Once There Were Wolves
    by Charlotte McConaghy
    In Charlotte McConaghy's second novel after her debut Migrations, environmental biologist Inti Flynn...
  • Book Jacket: The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
    The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
    by Alka Joshi
    Alka Joshi's The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is the sequel to her 2020 bestseller The Henna Artist and ...
  • Book Jacket: Seek You
    Seek You
    by Kristen Radtke
    In the first pages of Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness, Kristen Radtke's sophomore ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
In Every Mirror She's Black
by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom
An arresting debut for anyone looking for insight into what it means to be a Black woman in the world.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Blind Man's Bluff
    by James Tate Hill

    A writer's humorous and often-heartbreaking tale of losing his sight—and how he hid it from the world.

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Chance Library
    by Freya Sampson

    Fans of libraries and heartfelt, humorous fiction won't want to miss this one!

Who Said...

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Pull Y U B T B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.