Provocative Writer Randa Jarrar to Speak at Herron

On Monday, the novelist visits Eskenazi Hall.
Considered one of the most promising young writers of Arab origin, Randa Jarrar has tried her hand at multiple genres: novels and short stories, 140-character tweets, and essays such as “Why I Can’t Stand White Belly Dancers,” a piece that went viral in the spring. So great was the reaction that Jarrar responded to the critics in a follow-up: “I’m thrilled that something I wrote on my dining table in a few hours, one I thought a couple of hundred people would read, has sparked such a discussion. I refuse to sit quietly in the margins and only speak when I can ‘calmly’ educate and teach.”
Jarrar will speak at 7 p.m. on Monday in Eskenazi Hall as part of the Herron School of Art’s Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Symposium. The Palestinian-American writer’s 2008 debut novel, A Map of Home (Penguin Books), placed her on the literary scene as a fresh, inventive, and funny writer. The coming-of-age narrative takes rebellious Nidali from 1970s Boston to Kuwait, until the Iraqi invasion drives her and her family to Egypt and eventually to Texas. Jarrar, born in Chicago, was raised in Kuwait and Egypt and moved to the United States after the first Gulf war. “Part of me wanted to dedicate [the novel] to my 18-year-old self,” she said in a 2009 interview.
Free tickets to her talk at Herron are available at