Author Mohja Kahf to Read from 'Hagar Poems' and Other Work

University of Arkansas Press
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University of Arkansas Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Mohja Kahf, professor of English at the University of Arkansas, will read her poetry and sign her new book Hagar Poems at 7 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 31 at Nightbird Books in Fayetteville and at  2 p.m. Sunday Feb. 5 at the Fayetteville Public Library.  

The Nightbird event takes place during the monthly meeting of the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective and is sponsored in part by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies.

The library event is part of the Fayetteville Library’s ongoing University of Arkansas Press Spotlight series.

Both events are free and open to the public and will include refreshments.

Hagar Poems, published by the UA Press, re-imagines the story of Hagar, Abraham, and Sarah, the ancestral feuding family belonging to all three religious traditions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The poems also delve into other characters, such as Mary and Moses, and touch on figures from early Islam, such as Fatima and Aisha. Readers will find sequels and prequels to the traditional narratives, along with modernized figures claimed for contemporary conflicts.

Praised as “brilliantly original in its conception, thrillingly artful in its execution,”Hagar Poems is a compelling shakeup of not only Hagar’s story but also of current roles for all kinds of women in all kinds of relationships.  “Kahf brilliantly transposes the disorienting experience of life in the U.S. for many immigrant and marginalized women with the rich history of the Abrahamic religions” (Booklist Review). Christian Feminism Today said, “In a world where Islamophobia, hijabi Olympians, and burqini bans feature in everyday news, Arab-American poet Mohja Kahf’s new collection is timely and relevant, delivering a clear-eyed vision of women in Islam.”

Mohja Kahf teaches courses on Arab American literature, the Quran, medieval Spain, postcolonialism, and feminist thought. She was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1967 to parents who immigrated to the United States in 1971. She is the author of a book of poems, E-mails from Scheherazad, and a novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf.

Nightbird Books is located at 205 W. Dickson Street. The Fayetteville Public Library is located at 401 W. Mountain St.

About the University of Arkansas Press: The University of Arkansas Press was founded in 1980 as the book publishing division of the University of Arkansas. A member of the Association of American University Presses, it has as its central and continuing mission the publication of books that serve both the broader academic community and Arkansas and the region.

About the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies: The King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies is an academic and research unit in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas. An interdisciplinary and interdepartmental area studies center that offers diverse cultural, intellectual, and educational opportunities for the U of A community, the Center promotes research and teaching in interdisciplinary Middle East Studies.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

Melissa King, director of sales and marketing
University of Arkansas Press
479-575-7715, mak001@uark.edu

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations
479-575-3583, voorhies@uark.edu

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