EDITOR — JORDAN ELGRABLY is an American journalist, editor and fiction writer of French and Moroccan heritage, whose work has appeared widely in the U.S. and Europe and in a number of anthologies and journals, including the Paris Review, Salmagundi and Apulée. He is the cofounder and director of the former Levantine Cultural Center/The Markaz (2001–2020). Follow Jordan on Twitter.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER–available internship with stipend for savvy social media manager with writing and video and/or design skills, to work with TMR’s Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts. Self-starter with creative initiative will do well with our editorial team. Contact the Editor, editor-at-themarkaz.org.
Editorial Board/Contributing Editors
JENINE ABBOUSHI is a Palestinian-American writer, freelancer and traveler, especially around home. She lived for many years in the United States, Palestine, Morocco, Lebanon, and now in Southern France. She earned a a B.A. from Birzeit University in Palestine, Masters in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia and a PhD from Harvard in Comparative Literature. Jenine is at work on a second novel that will be part of a trilogy. Follow her on Twitter, @jenineabboushi.
SALAR ABDOH is an Iranian novelist and essayist who divides much of his time between New York and Tehran. He is the author of the novels Poet Game (2000), Opium (2004), Tehran At Twilight (2014), and Out of Mesopotamia (2020) and the editor and translator of the anthology Tehran Noir (2014). He also teaches in the graduate program in Creative Writing at the City College of New York at the City University of New York. Abdoh seeks to help Iran re-engage with the Arab world and convey more of Iranian culture to the west. Salar Abdoh at Goodreads.
AMMIEL ALCALAY–Poet, novelist, translator, scholar and activist Ammiel Alcalay was born and raised in Boston. He studied Latin and ancient Greek at City College in New York and earned his PhD in comparative literature from the CUNY Graduate Center. His parents were Sephardic Jews from Belgrade (Serbia), and much of Alcalay’s work engages questions of religious identity, language, and culture, particularly the histories and cultures of the Balkans and the Middle East. He is the author of the classic study After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture; Keys to the Garden; Memories of Our Future: Selected Essays and the cairo notebooks [sic] among other works. Alcalay founded and is general editor of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative. The chapbook series publishes student and guest-edited archival texts of writers and activists, frequently focusing on correspondence, journals, lectures, and ephemera. Alcalay won the American Book Award for his work on Lost & Found in 2017.
RANA ASFOUR–(BOOK EDITOR) assigns books for review. She has lived, worked and been educated in Jordan, Lebanon, Abu Dhabi and the UK. A freelance writer and book reviewer, her work has appeared in such publications as The Guardian UK and The National/UAE. In addition to her writing experience, Rana has worked in radio and TV in Amman, and has been a translator from Arabic and French to English. Rana tweets at @bookfabulous.
TMR contributing editor IASON ATHANASIADIS is a Mediterranean-focused multimedia journalist based between Athens, Istanbul, and Tunis. He uses all media to recount the story of how we can adapt to the era of climate change, mass migration, and the misapplication of distorted modernities. He studied Arabic and Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford, Persian and Contemporary Iranian Studies in Tehran, and was a Nieman fellow at Harvard, before working for the United Nations between 2011 and 2018. He received the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Mediterranean Journalism Award for his coverage of the Arab Spring in 2011, and its 10th-anniversary alumni award for his commitment to using all media to tell stories of intercultural dialogue in 2017. Find him on Twitter @Iason11.
KAI BIRD–is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist. In January 2017 he was appointed Executive Director and Distinguished Lecturer of CUNY Graduate Center’s Leon Levy Center for Biography. His most recent book, The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, was a New York Times best-seller. He chronicled his childhood in the Middle East in his memoir, Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis–which was a Finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. He is the acclaimed author of biographies of John J. McCloy, McGeorge Bundy, and William Bundy. He won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2006 for American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (co-authored with Martin J. Sherwin). His work includes critical writings on the Vietnam War, Hiroshima, nuclear weapons, the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the CIA. Bird and Sherwin also won the National Books Critics Circle Award and the Duff Cooper Prize for History. In September 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Carleton College. He is an elected member of the prestigious Society of American Historians. Kai Bird lives in New York City and Florida with his wife Susan Goldmark. His new book, due out in the summer of 2021, is The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter. @Kaibird123
AOMAR BOUM is a cultural anthropologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California Los Angeles, where he is Vice Chair of Undergraduate Studies. He is the author of Memories of Absence: How Muslims Remember Jews in Morocco, and with Thomas K. Park the coauthor of the Historical Dictionary of Morocco. He is also the coauthor of The Holocaust and North Africa as well as A Concise History of the Middle East (2018) and most recently, with Mohamed Daadaoui, the coauthor of the Historical Dictionary of the Arab Uprisings (2020). Aomar is an aficionado of the graphic novel and will guest-edit a special edition of TMR on the graphic novel this summer. He was born and raised in the oasis of Mhamid, Foum Zguid in the Province of Tata, Morocco.
MELISSA CHEMAM– A native of Paris with roots in Algeria, Melissa is a widely-published journalist and radio reporter (BBC, RFI) and author of a book on Bristol’s music scene, Massive Attack: Out of the Comfort Zone. She is a writer in residence in the UK at Bristol’s Arnolfini gallery who writes on music, art, politics and film. As a film researcher she has worked with Raoul Peck on his James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro and his forthcoming film on Frantz Fanon. She has been based in Prague, Miami, London, Nairobi (covering Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia), and Bristol, UK. She’s travelled from Italy to Haiti, via Tunisia, Liberia, South Africa, India, Mexico, Niger, Turkey and Iraq. Her Twitter handle is @melissachemam.
MONIQUE EL-FAIZY—an Egyptian-Dutch-American journalist, Monique is the author of God and Country, on American Evangelicals, and co-author of All the President’s Women, on Donald Trump. A Paris-based correspondent, she has written for a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, France24, Marie Claire, GQ, Glamour, Moscow Magazine, and the Moscow Guardian, and has lived and worked in Egypt, Russia, Europe, Asia and the United States. Covering beats ranging from Wall Street to the Arab-American community, she has held staff positions at the New York Daily News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Associated Press and the Record of Hackensack. El-Faizy’s work often focuses on people or groups that are disenfranchised and/or misunderstood, and seeks to bring nuance to subjects usually depicted in broad strokes. She is a former fellow at the World Policy Institute and the co-founder of Mwikali’s Gift, a 501©3 relief organization that worked in the village of Usalama, Kenya. El-Faizy has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She tweets @Moniqueelfaizy.
ALI ETERAZ— is the author of the debut novel, Native Believer, a NYTimes Book Review Editors’ Choice selection, as well as the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Children of the Dust, a Memoir of Pakistan, which was selected as a New Statesman Book of the Year and was featured on PBS with Tavis Smiley, NPR with Terry Gross, C‑SPAN2, and numerous international outlets. O, The Oprah Magazine, called it “a picaresque journey” and the book was long-listed for the Asian American Writer’s Workshop Award. Previously, he wrote the short story collection Falsipedies and Fibsiennes and his work has appeared in Adirondack Review, storySouth, Chicago Quarterly Review, and Forge Journal. An accomplished essayist, Ali has been spotlighted by Time Magazine and Pageturner, the literary blog of the New Yorker. In 2014, Eteraz won the 3 Quarks Daily Arts & Literature Prize judged by novelist Mohsin Hamid. In 2015, he served as an art consultant to Jenny Holzer, for a permanent art installation in Qatar. He grew up in the Caribbean, South Asia, and the American South. Ali tweets @eteraz.
MISCHA GERACOULIS is a US-based journalist with roots in the Mediterranean. Her diverse writings and teaching philosophy, advocacy efforts, and approach to life are informed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, journalistic oath of ethics, and critical media literacy. Some of Mischa’s research topics include the Armenian Genocide, global refugee crises, rights to adequate housing and equitable education, and the multifaceted human condition. Her work has appeared in Middle East Eye, Truthout, LA Review of Books, The Guardian, Colorlines, Gomidas Institute, openDemocracy, and National Catholic Reporter among others. Mischa tweets @MGeracoulis.
JANINE DI GIOVANNI — author, multi-award winning war correspondent and human rights investigator Janine Di Giovanni is a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and currently directing a project sponsored by the UN Democracy Fund project that promotes transitional justice in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria. In 2019, she won a Guggenheim Fellowship for her research in the Middle East, and in 2020, she received the American Academy of Arts and Letters highest prize for non-fiction for her body of work spanning three decades. She has won more than a dozen other awards for her chronicling of war and conflict in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East. She has been called “our generations finest foreign correspondent” by the Daily Telegraph. She is the author of The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria, along with seven other books on war and conflict. Her latest is The Vanishing, chronicling the disappearance of Christian minorities from the Middle East. She tweets @janinedigi.
MALU HALASA is a London-based writer and editor. Her six co-edited anthologies include—Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline, with Zaher Omareen; The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie: Intimacy and Design, with Rana Salam; and the short series: Transit Beirut: New Writing and Images, with Rosanne Khalaf, and Transit Tehran: Young Iran and Its Inspirations, with Maziar Bahari. She was managing editor of the Prince Claus Fund Library; a founding editor of Tank Magazine and Editor at Large for Portal 9. As a freelance journalist in London, she has covered wide-ranging subjects, from water as occupation in Israel/Palestine to Syrian comics during the present-day conflict. Her books, exhibitions and lectures chart a changing Middle East. Her latest anthology is Syria Speaks: Art and Culture From the Frontline (coedited with Zaher Omareen 7 Nawara Mahfoud). Malu Halasa’s debut novel, Mother of All Pigs was reviewed by the New York Times as “a microcosmic portrait of … a patriarchal order in slow-motion decline.” She tweets at @halasamalu.
MOHJA KAHF— is a Syrian American critic, poet, novelist & feminist scholar. Born in Damascus, she was raised in the US. Mohja was a founding member of RAWI, the Radius of Arab American Writers, established in 1993, and is a member of the Syrian Nonviolence Movement. In 2011, she and her daughter visited the Turkish border with Syria in order to work with Syrian escapees. She wrote about the experience in the essay “The Daughter’s Road to Syria”in the Rumpus. She is professor of comparative literature and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Arkansas since 1995, is author of The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, Hagar Poems, E‑mails from Scheherazad, and Western Representations of the Muslim Woman: From Termagant to Odalisque. Some of her writing has been translated to Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Urdu, Japanese, Italian, German, and French. Her book, My Lover Feeds Me Grapefruit, won the 2020 Press 53 Award for Poetry. Kahf is a winner of the Pushcart Prize and an Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist award. Find her on Twitter @ProfKahf.
FRANCISCO LETELIER– Based in Venice, California, Franciso Letelier is a Chilean American artist, muralist, activist and writer who bridges continents, weaving history and contemporary experiences, creating powerful and memorable work. For four decades, Letelier has created art that crosses disciplines and cultures while building connections between nations and individuals. He has been involved in projects throughout the Americas, Europe and the West Bank. Known also for his lectures, spoken word and writing, Letelier has been published in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post and other publications. He has received the LA Artcore award for contributions to Southern California culture and the SPARC (Social and Public Art Resource Center) Siquieros Muralist Award. Find him on Twitter at @franlete.
ANNE-MARIE O’CONNOR—is the author of The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, the bestselling story of the battle by Vienna emigre Maria Altmann to reclaim five Gustav Klimt paintings from her native Austria in an eight-year legal battle, a saga that also inspired the movie Woman in Gold, in which Helen Mirren played Maria Altmann. A former Jerusalem correspondent, Anne-Marie is a longtime journalist in Latin America, and covered the civil wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador as a Central America bureau chief for Reuters. She was also a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald, UPI, and the Cox Newspaper chain, and has written for Esquire, the Christian Science Monitor, and The Nation. She is a speaker on the subject of the Nazi plunder of art and restitution. Her twitter handle is @theladyingold.
ELLA SHOHAT—is Professor of Cultural Studies at NYU. Her books include Taboo Memories, Diasporic Voices; Israeli Cinema: East/West and the Politics of Representation; Talking Visions: Multicultural Feminism in a Transnational Age; Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Nation and Postcolonial Perspectives; Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora; and with Robert Stam, Unthinking Eurocentrism; Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality and Transnational Media; Flagging Patriotism: Crises of Narcissism and Anti-Americanism; and Race in Translation: Culture Wars Around the Postcolonial Atlantic. She co-edited a number of special issues for the journal Social Text, including “Edward Said: A Memorial Issue,” “Palestine in a Transnational Context,” and “911‑A Public Emergency?” while her writing has been translated into over 10 languages. Shohat has also served on the editorial board of several journals, including: Social Text; Middle East Critique; Meridians; Interventions; and Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. She is a recipient of such fellowships as Rockefeller and the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, where she also taught at The School of Criticism and Theory; together with Sinan Antoon, she was awarded the NYU Humanities Initiative fellowship for their “Narrating Iraq: Between Nation and Diaspora;” and Shohat was awarded a Fulbright research / lectureship at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, for studying the cultural intersections between the Middle East and Latin America. She is author most recently of On the Arab-Jew, Palestine and Other Displacements & Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora. Ella Shohat is from a Jewish-Baghdadi family, grew up in Israel and has lived most of her life in New York.
AMY WILENTZ—Amy Wilentz is the author of Farewell Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti, The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier, the novel Martyrs’ Crossing, and I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They Happen: Coming to California in the Age of Schwarzenegger. She is the winner of the Whiting Writers Award, the PEN Martha Albrand Non-Fiction Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award. In 1990 she was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction for The Rainy Season. She won the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for memoir for Farewell, Fred Voodoo, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in general nonfiction in 2020. Wilentz is MacDowell fellow, the former Jerusalem correspondent for The New Yorker and a long-time contributing editor at The Nation. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, The London Review of Books, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and many other publications. She teaches in the Literary Journalism program at the University of California at Irvine, and lives in Los Angeles. She tweets @amywilentz.
Editors at Large
RAYYAN AL-SHAWAF is a book critic and editor based in Malta. His reviews and essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Globe and Mail, Miami Herald, PopMatters, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star, TMR, Truthdig, Washington Post and elsewhere. His debut novel, When All Else Fails, was published by Interlink Books.
ELIO ZARMATI—Franco-Egyptian American, Elio Zarmati is a former magazine publisher and editor, a reporter, a screenwriter and television director, and a successful entrepreneur, most notably in the field of subtitling and dubbing motion pictures for DVD and home video distribution. He recently completed Goodbye, Tahrir Square, a memoir of childhood as a European Jew in Egypt, then as now a country torn apart by war and revolution. He is also drafting his first novel, a saga that spans three generations on the political and art scenes in America, Europe and on the front lines of the wars of the 21st-century. He is based in Los Angeles.