Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
Photograph: Tina Case Photography

Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar Biography

Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar is a Syrian American author. Originally from New York City, Jennifer was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother. She is a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) and of American Mensa. Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, The Saturday Evening Post, PANK Magazine, Mizna, and elsewhere. Jennifer is a 2017-2020 Montalvo Arts Center Lucas Artists Program Literary Arts Fellow and an alum of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) and the Tin House Writers' Workshop. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net.



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Interview

In a wide-ranging interview, Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar discusses her debut book The Map of Salt and Stars, synesthesia, the Syrian refugee crisis, and Arabic astronomy - amongst other topics.

How do you think The Map of Salt and Stars can help readers to understand the Syrian refugee crisis?

I hope that this novel will serve as a starting point for readers to seek out accounts of the Syrian refugee crisis written by Syrians. It's important to me that readers understand that this novel was written by an author with a mostly Western perspective, an author born in the United States and not in Syria, an author who has not lived through the war in Syria or been a refugee. While I have more nuanced insight into the situation as a Syrian American than someone without a link to Syria, my insight is still incomplete; and because it is impossible for a writer to ever entirely discard their lens of nationality, race, gender, and other factors, it is impossible for my American upbringing not to leave traces on this novel. That said, I wrote this book primarily for people like me: people living in the Syrian diaspora, unable to return to their ancestral homeland, who are in deep pain and grieving the beloved people, places, and heritage that have been lost and that continue to be lost every day. What can we take with us? What can be salvaged? Where can we call home? These are the questions I primarily concerned myself with ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar at BookBrowse
The Map of Salt and Stars jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar 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

  • Hala Alyan

    Hala Alyan

    Hala Alyan is an award-winning Palestinian American poet and clinical psychologist whose work has appeared in numerous journals including the Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, and Colorado Review. She resides in Manhattan. (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Map of Salt and Stars

    Try:
    Salt Houses
    by Hala Alyan

  • Deborah Ellis

    Deborah Ellis

    Deborah Ellis has been all over the world. And she hasn't just visited places, she's done things. Big things. She went to Pakistan to help at an Afghan Refugee Camp; she went to Israel and the Ghaza Strip to talk with ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Map of Salt and Stars

    Try:
    No Safe Place
    by Deborah Ellis

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Book Discussion
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A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

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