Darraj wins American Book Award, Arab American Book Award, and More


Susan Muaddi Darraj adds another award to her remarkable collection of short stories, A Curious Land: Stories from Home, with the Arab American Book Award. The book has also won the American Book Award, the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, and is short-listed for the Palestine Book Award.

Congratulations Susan! You can watch Susan Muaddi Darraj accept her American Book Award here around minute 2:30.

For more information on her multiple award winning book "A Curious Land," please see https://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/curious-land

Jim Hicks, the editor of the Massachusetts Review offers this moving commentary on the multiple award winning collection of short stories A Curious Land: Stories from Home by Susan Muaddi Darraj.

He writes: "In this time of increasing Islamophobia, we should not need to be reminded that not all religion is extremist, that not all Arabs are terrorists. . . or that, by the way, not all Arabs are Muslim. Yet clearly we do need this reminder; we need fiction, as well as history, to bring this lesson across, to translate the experience of other places, of other times, of other cultures, in a way that makes them real, irrefutable—and that makes our world larger and more just."

Here is a list of praise the book has earned from reviewers: 

  • “A superb collection and a perfect selection for public libraries.”—Booklist
  • A Curious Land humanizes a political situation.”—Necessary Fiction
  • “The author’s empathy for the large cast of embattled characters is miraculous.”— Jaime Manrique, author of Our Lives Are the Rivers
  • "There is a no judgment or anger in the stories. Darraj shows us one side of a decades-long conflict, with characters struggling for the peace and happiness we all want for ourselves.”—Amina Gautier, The Rumpus
  • A Curious Land places Muaddi Darraj with other hybrid-American authors of African, Latin American, Jewish, and other heritages who ensure that our understandings of notions of identity and home remain diverse and complex.”—Electronic Intifada
  • ”Chatty, generous, and often hilarious, this book is full of characters you won’t want to leave behind.”—Randa Jarrar, author of A Map of Home: A Novel
  • “The stories in A Curious Land dissolve the boundaries that can separate people.”—Hayan Charara, author of The Sadness of Others
  • “Susan Muaddi Darraj’s brilliant attention to the details of individual and collective experiences of love, occupation, immigration, and loss over the span of several decades creates an immensely powerful, intimate, and complex portrait of Palestinian lives, both at home and in the diaspora."—Carol Fadda-Conrey, Associate Professor of English, Syracuse University
  • “Utterly unique.”—Lalita Noronha, author of Where Monsoons Cry and Her Skin Phyllo-Thin

For more on the awards, please see