2016 Presenters

For a list of past presenters, go here!


Leila Abdelrazaq is a Chicago-born, Palestinian author and artist. Her debut graphic

novel, Baddawi, was shortlisted for the Palestine Book Awards. She is also the creator of a number of zines and short comix.

Dena Al-Adeeb is an artist, writer, researcher, educator and activist born in Baghdad, Iraq, and is based between Manhattan, New York and Oakland, California. Conceptually obsessing over time and space through performative commemorations, she investigates collective trauma, exhumed architectural histories and necropolis geographies in both her art and scholarship.

Ali A. Alhajji is a Ph.D. Candidate in the English Department at Ohio State and a Lecturer at King Saud University. He is currently working on a dissertation project exploring the relationship between cross-cultural communication and reliability in contemporary Anglophone Arab writing.

Leila Awadallah is a Palestinian-American dancer and choreographer. She is pursuing a BFA in Dance with a minor in Arab Studies at the University of Minnesota. Her work researches how dance performance can work to break down, and rewrite mainstream narratives.

Leila Ben-Nasr is a Ph.D. Candidate in the English department at The Ohio State University. Her current dissertation project is titled “The Narrative Space of Childhood in 21st Century Anglophone Arab Literature in the Diaspora.

Ramla Bile is a Minneapolis-based writer. She often writes about racial justice, motherhood, Muslim-American experiences, and issues impacting Somalis in Minnesota. To pay the bills, she operates a communications and strategic development firm called Qalam Consulting (www.QalamConsulting.com) that helps local nonprofits, foundations, and small businesses amplify their impact.

Lauren Camp won the Dorset Prize for her third collection, One Hundred Hungers(Tupelo Press, 2016), which explores her father’s childhood in Baghdad. She lives in New Mexico.

Marguerite Dabaie is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist most known for The Hookah Girl and Other True Stories, was a comic autobiography about Palestinian Americans. Her comic in progress, A Voyage to Panjikant, is historical fiction about the Silk Road.

Susan Muaddi Darraj is the author of two short story collections, The Inheritance of Exile and A Curious Land, which won the Grace Paley Award for Short Fiction. She teaches in the Johns Hopkins MA in Creative Writing program.

Mohannad Ghawanmeh is a multi-practitioner of the cinema whose scholarship encompasses Arab cinema, early/silent cinema, nationalism/transnationalism, media convergence, and censure/censorship. A recipient of the Teshome Gabriel Award and the Otis Fergusson Award in Critical Writing, Mohannad’s dissertation investigates the
political economy of Egyptian silent cinema. He is a PhD candidate in Cinema and Media Studies in the University of California, Los Angeles.

Adam Hamze is a first-generation Arab-American poet and journalist at the University of Texas at Austin, studying international relations and global studies. His work centers on diaspora, survival, and ancestry.

Darine Hotait is an American Lebanese writer, film director and the founder of Cinephilia in New York City. Her work focuses on bridging literature and cinema and giving predominance to the science fiction genre.

Randa Jarrar is the author of the novel, A MAP OF HOME, and the forthcoming collection, HIM, ME, MUHAMMAD ALI

Jennifer Zeynab Maccani is a Syrian American writer and a member of RAWI. Her work has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Gulf Stream Literary Magazine, The Normal School, and elsewhere.

Jehan Mullin is a visual and interdisciplinary anthropologist, writer and educator currently pursuing her PhD at Purdue University.

Shannon O’Neill is a writer whose fiction and non-fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, Asian American Literary Review (AALR) and Mizna among others. She earned her MFA in Fiction at Virginia Commonwealth University and has an MA in Film Studies from the University College Dublin, Ireland

Khaldoun Samman is an associate professor of sociology at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He teaches courses on U.S. domestic and international issues concerning class, racial, gender, and global systems of power and resistance. His most recent book is entitled The Clash of Modernities: The Islamist Challenge to Jewish, Turkish, and Arab Nationalism.

Glenn Shaheen is the author of the poetry collections Predatory and Energy Corridor (both from University of Pittsburgh Press), and the flash fiction chapbook Unchecked Savagery (Ricochet Editions).

Jna Shelomith is a New York City transplant to the Midwest with deeproots in Morocco. Collective member of Mizna’s writing group for manyyears, she pays the bills by being an “oppression janitor” doing social justice work for local government.

Sara Yasin is a Palestinian-American journalist. When she’s not yelling about her various hyphenated identifies online, she works for BuzzFeed News as a News Curation Editor.

Kamelya Youssef is a poet, teacher, and organizer. A graduate of the University of Michigan, she is currently an M.A. candidate in English at Wayne State University in Detroit