50 Books by Arab & Muslim Writers to Read This Year

Artwork by Etel Adnan


Earlier this month, I stumbled upon this fantastic, comprehensive list of recently published books by authors and poets of Arab, Middle Eastern and/or Muslim descent put together by Iranian-American poet Kaveh Akbar (originally posted on Facebook).

Akbar, whose poetry was published in the New Yorker’s special fiction issue, very graciously said I could repost the brilliant list here.

I’d like to think this compilation signals a new nahda in Arab & Muslim writing, with, as a friend recently put, Hisham Matar sitting up top (I tend to agree as I’m biased on Matar & his Pulitzer-prize winning book, THE RETURN.)

I’ve read some of these books and recently interviewed Hala Alyan about her stunning debut, “Salt Houses” (stay tuned for that); I can’t wait to get through more. The vast majority were published in the past year, while a couple were released in 2015 and a few others are forthcoming.

I’ve included links to the books on Amazon where possible, if you fancy buying any.


Etel Adnan, LIFE IS A WEAVING

Saladin Ahmed, BLACK BOLT

Kaveh Akbar, CALLING A WOLF A WOLF

Kazim Ali, INQUISITION (forthcoming)

Gayath Almadhoun, ADRENALINE (forthcoming)

S. K. Ali, SAINTS AND MISFITS

Hala Alyan, SALT HOUSES

Fatimah Asghar, TODAY WE’RE AMERICAN (forthcoming)

Samiya Bashir, FIELD THEORIES

Yasmin Belkhyr, BONE LIGHT 

Hassan Blasim, THE CORPSE EXHIBIT

Lauren Camp, ONE HUNDRED HUNGERS

Hayan Charara, SOMETHING SINISTER

Leila Chatti, TUNSIYA AMRIKIYA (forthcoming)

Najwan Darwish, NOTHING MORE TO LOSE

Carolina Ebeid, YOU ASK ME TO TALK ABOUT THE INTERIOR

Safia Elhillo, THE JANUARY CHILDREN

Mohsen Emadi, STANDING ON EARTH

Tarfia Faizullah, REGISTERS OF ILLUMINATED VILLAGES

Athena Farrokhzad, WHITE BLIGHT

Mohsin Hamid, EXIT WEST

Zeina Hashem Beck, LOUDER THAN HEARTS

Marwa Helal, INVASIVE SPECIES (forthcoming)

Randa Jarrar, HIM, ME, MUHAMMAD ALI

Fady Joudah, FOOTNOTES IN THE ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE

Lawrence Joseph, INTO IT

Mohja Kahf, HAJAR POEMS

Porochista Khakpour, SICK

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, WATER & SALT

Rahat Kurd, COSMOPHILIA

Hisham Matar, THE RETURN

Khaled Mattawa, TOCQUEVILLE

Dunya Mikhail, THE IRAQI NIGHTS

Philip Metres, PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION

Anis Mojgani, THE POCKETKNIFE BIBLE

Angel Nafis, BLACK GIRL MANSION

Hasan Namir, GOD IN PINK

Kristine Ong Muslim, BLACK ARCADIA

Ladan Osman, THE KITCHEN-DWELLER’S TESTIMONY

Saba Razvi, IN THE CROCODILE GARDENS

Jess Rizkallah, THE MAGIC MY BODY BECOMES

Omar Sakr, THESE WILD HOUSES

Glenn Shaheen, ENERGY CORRIDOR

Roger Sedarat, HAJI AS PUPPET

Naomi Shihab Nye, TRANSFER

Solmaz Sharif, LOOK

Adeeba Talukder, WHAT IS NOT BEAUTIFUL (forthcoming)

Sholeh Wolpé, CONFERENCE OF THE BIRDS

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, THEY CAN’T KILL US UNTIL THEY KILL US

Bänoo Zan, SONGS OF EXILE

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