When I was just shy of being 14, I moved from Egypt to Westchester with my family. A year later, we moved to CT. These moves were traumatizing, because, in addition to being a weird-looking teenager with frizzed out hair and acne, I was also new to America, and trying to navigate high school and a house full of crazed immigrant parents. But whenever I go back to NYC, I am reminded of the best parts of that time in my life: the trips I would take to New York on the train solo, walking entire stretches of the city with nothing but my walkman for company.
I’m excited to go back in a couple of weeks for the PEN World Voices Fest, and excited to participate in the annual Literary Safari, where I’ll be reading from my new project, and in a conversation with Palestinian writers Adania Shibli and Najwan Darwish, both of whom I’ve had the luck to be trashed with in the past. That latter event will be moderated by Judith Butler, whom I’ve crushed on since my Sarah Lawrence years– I think as a rite of passage we all got jumped and given Gender Trouble tattoos. Also, my friend John tells me there used to be a fanzine called Judy. And behold, he was right!
*Update: Judith Butler has had to drop out of moderating the panel, but Elias Khoury is doing it instead! Woot woot! Elias rocks.