A Web Del Sol Featured Writer

Diana Abu-Jaber

Mam opens her clear eyes wide, that cool, cool blue, fainter than air, cool on Hindee's skin, cool as amnesia. Almost enough to get Hindee to stop, laugh, say, forget it, but not quite enough.

Photo by Lisa Gladstone

Diana Abu-Jaber was born in Upstate New York and lived there until she was 7 when her family moved to Amman for two years. Her father is Jordanian and her mother is American, and she has lived between America and Jordan ever since. She received her doctorate in English literature from the State University of New York. She has taught literature and creative writing at the University of Michigan, the University of Oregon, and UCLA.

Her first novel, Arabian Jazz, came out in 1993 from Harcourt Brace. It won the Oregon Book Award and was a finalist for the national PEN/Hemingway award. Her second novel, Memories of Birth, will be published some time within the year. She won a National Endowment for the Arts grant for this manuscript.

She recently returned from Amman where she was on a Fulbright research grant award, conducting interviews with Jordanian and Palestinian women about their lives to develop backround for her next novel.

Diana is currently Writer-in-Residence at Portland State University.

Diana Abu-Jaber, from Memories of Birth
They screamed their way through babyhood. They’d signal each other by some telepathic communication, screwing up their tiny bodies, hard and red as turnips, the skin of their faces mottled purple, their little mouths opened wide. Their screams were what the sinner might expect from the deepest chambers of hell, cries of rage and torment.
      They rejected the midwife, their aunts and cousins, their sisters; they writhed furiously in their mother’s arms and spat out her teats. Finally, Grosspapa kidnapped them one night while they were sleeping--which was odd because I’d noticed the twins had always slept in relays--while the one slept, the other held sentry, watching the world through crib bars, eyes wide open, read to sound the alarm at any false step.

Selections from Diana Abu-Jaber's work:

In Flight

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