Zeyn Joukhadar biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Zeyn Joukhadar
Photo: Neha Gautam

Zeyn Joukhadar

How to pronounce Zeyn Joukhadar: ZAYN JHOOK-hadar

Zeyn Joukhadar Biography

Zeyn Joukhadar is the author of The Map of Salt and Stars and The Thirty Names of Night. He is a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) and of American Mensa. Joukhadar's writing has appeared in Salon, the Paris Review, the Kenyon Review, and elsewhere and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. The Map of Salt and Stars was a 2018 Middle East Book Award winner in Youth Literature and a 2018 Goodreads Choice Award Finalist in Historical Fiction and was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. He has been an artist in residence at the Montalvo Arts Center, the Fes Medina Project, Beit al-Atlas, and the Arab American National Museum.

Zeyn Joukhadar's website

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Interview

In a wide-ranging interview, Zeyn discusses his debut book The Map of Salt and Stars, synesthesia, the Syrian refugee crisis, and Arabic astronomy - among 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 Zeyn Joukhadar at BookBrowse
The Thirty Names of Night jacket The Map of Salt and Stars jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Zeyn 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

  • Jokha Alharthi

    Jokha Alharthi

    Jokha Alharthi is the first Omani woman to have a novel translated into English, and Celestial Bodies is the first book translated from Arabic to win the Man Booker International Prize. She is the author of two previous ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Map of Salt and Stars

    Try:
    Celestial Bodies
    by Jokha Alharthi

  • Hala Alyan

    Hala Alyan

    Hala Alyan is the author of the novel Salt Houses, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Arab American Book Award and a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize, as well as the forthcoming novel The Arsonists' City, and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Map of Salt and Stars

    Try:
    Salt Houses
    by Hala Alyan

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