Etel Adnan Poetry Prize Winner Zaina Alsous to Read at Fayetteville Poetry Festival, Oct. 12

Arab-American poet Zaina Alsous.
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Arab-American poet Zaina Alsous.

Zaina Alsous, Arab-American poet and winner of the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize, will read from her prizewinning poetry collection A Theory of Birds (University of Arkansas Press) on Saturday, Oct. 12. Alsous will read alongside fellow festival feature poet Olatunde Osinaike, with opening readings by Banah Ghadbian.

The reading will take place at 8 p.m. at Nomads Trailside as part of the third annual Open Mouth Poetry Festival. Copies of A Theory of Birds will be available for signing and purchase after the event.

Alsous is a daughter of the Palestinian diaspora, born and raised in North Carolina. She currently lives in Miami, Florida, while pursuing an MFA in poetry and teaching undergraduate writing at the University of Miami. Her poetry, reviews and essays have been published in the Boston Review, the New Inquiry, Mask Magazine, Adroit, and elsewhere. She edits for Scalawag Magazine, a publication dedicated to unsettling dominant narratives of the U.S. South. Her chapbook Lemon Effigies won the Rick Campbell Chapbook Prize and was published by Anhinga Press.

Alsous's poetry collection, A Theory of Birds, was chosen by Etel Adnan series editors Hayan Charara and Fady Joudah as the winner of the 2019 Prize. A Theory of Birds uses ornithology as metaphor, placing species naming and extinction in conversation with colonial "discovery" events and the gaze that assists imperial violence.

"We were excited to encounter a measured, nuanced sophistication that charms the mind as well as expands the heart. Her concerns are worldly," said Charara and Joudah of the collection. "She resists a history of erasure through a spirit of equality and a desire for illumination. We are honored that she is the winner of [the 2019] Etel Adnan Poetry Prize."

Every year the University of Arkansas Press together with the Radius of Arab American Writers accepts submissions for the Etel Adnan Poetry Series and awards the $1,000 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize to a first or second book of poetry, in English, by a writer of Arab heritage. Since its founding in 1996 the Radius of Arab American Writers has celebrated and fostered the writings and writers that make up the vibrant and diverse Arab American community. The prize is named in honor of the world-renowned Lebanese poet, novelist, essayist, and artist Etel Adnan.

The Etel Adnan Poetry Prize is supported by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas.

This reading is also sponsored by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies and the University of Arkansas Press, in partnership with the Open Mouth Reading Series, a non-profit community-based poetry series located in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

For more information on the 2019 Open Mouth Poetry Festival, visit www.openmouthreadings.com

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 University of Arkansas community, the Center promotes research and teaching in interdisciplinary Middle East studies. More information about the King Fahd Center can be found at mest.uark.edu. For ongoing news, follow the Center on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

Contacts

Nani Verzon, project/program specialist
Middle East Studies Program
479-575-2175, hverzon@uark.edu

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