February 3, 2021

Middle Eastern American Authors Will Be Featured in Free Virtual Series That Begins Tuesday, Feb. 16, and Continues Through July

Montgomery County’s Office of Community Partnerships’ Middle Eastern American Advisory Group (MEAGG) and Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) are joining to offer a free series of virtual programs on select Tuesday evenings focusing on Middle Eastern American authors and illustrators. The first program, at 7 p.m. on Feb. 16, will feature Lebanese-born Helen Zughaib, an internationally acclaimed artist who will talk about “Stories My Father Told Me” that addresses her paintings accompanying her father’s stories of growing up in Syria.

The author series will take place on the third Tuesday of each month from 7 to 8 p.m. The February event begins the series that will continue through July. The events will be moderated by Debbie Trent, MEAGG chair, or Karen Leggett, co-chair of the Maryland Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt). Registration is required to view the programs.

“We are delighted to be able to partner with MEAGG and bring these incredibly accomplished authors and artists to MCPL to share their stories,” said MCPL Director Anita Vassallo. “This is a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about their work and creative processes.”

In the Feb. 16 program, Zughaib’s art will be featured. It has been widely exhibited in the U.S. and overseas and gifted to heads of state. She will discuss art and literature as a way to encourage dialogue, understanding and acceptance.

Other authors scheduled in the series:
  • Hena Khan. March 16: The award-winning Pakistani-American children’s author has works that include Amina’s Voice, which was named a Best Book of 2017 by The Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews and NPR. Its sequel was “Amina’s Song.”
  • Rashin Kheiriyeh. April 20: The internationally recognized author/illustrator has published more than 80 books in the U.S, Europe and Asia, including her native Iran.
  • Nadia Hashimi. May 18: The parents of the Montgomery County pediatrician turned came to the U.S. from Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion. She is the author of “Sparks Like Stars.”
  • Susan Muaddi Daraj. June 15: She is the author of “A Curious Land: Stories from Home,” a short story collection which won the 2014 AWP Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction and a 2016 Arab American Book Award.
  • Pauline Kaldas. July 20: The professor of English and Creative Writing at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., is the author of “Looking Both Ways,” a collection of essays and “The Penguin Book of Migration Literature.”
For more information about the program, contact Clotilde Puértolas at Clotilde.puertolas@montgomerycountymd.gov