Past Event

"A Woman is No Man" - Diana Abu-Jaber in conversation with author, Etaf Rum

June 2, 2021
7:00 PM
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Wednesday, June 2
7:00 – 8:00 pm Amman
12:00 – 1:00 pm New York
Register here

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children—four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family—knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.


Etaf Rum

Etaf Rum is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, and was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She has a Masters of Arts in American and British Literature as well as undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and English and has taught undergraduate courses in North Carolina, where she lives with her two children. Etaf also runs the instagram account @booksandbeansA Woman is No Man is her first novel. 


Diana Abu-Jaber

Diana Abu-Jaber is a professor in the English Department at Portland State University. She is the author of Silverworld, a fantasy with an Arab-American girl at its heart. Diana often writes about the intersection of food, family, and cultural identity. Her memoir, Life Without A Recipe, was described by Ruth Reichl as “bold and luscious.” The Language of Baklava, her first memoir, won the Northwest Bookseller’s Award, and her latest novel, Birds of Paradise, won the Arab-American National Book Award. Her other novels include Origin, Arabian Jazz, and Crescent.