Novel Brooklyn Heights Nominated for Arabic Fiction Award

Brooklyn Heights
, a novel by Miral al-Tahawy, assistant professor of Arabic at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, has been nominated for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (also called the “Arabic Booker Prize”), which will be awarded next March.

University News, Appalachian State University: “Brooklyn Heights” tells the story of five female Arab immigrants living in Brooklyn as each tries to reconcile the history, religion and culture of their native countries while struggling to survive as a female immigrant in America.

The novel is full of meticulously collected female characters presented by al-Tahawy with their unusual life experiences in New York’s famous neighborhood. Al-Tahawy follows her characters from childhood to their decisions to leave their husbands and the patriarchal values that dominate Middle Eastern and North African countries.

According to the Blowing Rock News, the novel, written in classical Arabic, “will soon be published in English by the American University in Cairo Press.”

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  • no_slappz

    ” Al-Tahawy follows her characters from childhood to their decisions to leave their husbands and the patriarchal values that dominate Middle Eastern and North African countries.”

    At what point wil we read that al-Tahawy has been murdered in an honor killing? Clearly her topics — in the eyes of too many muslims — are blasphemous. Worse for her, she’s a woman, which means she has no rights in islamic societies. Moreover, the fatwa issued on the life of Salman Rushdie was based on writings of his that were far less controversial.

  • Dorothy Daniela Josephs

    Please don’t predict such an ending for Miral al-Tahway as above by no_slappz. May she thrive and go on to write more good books. She sounds like all of us American women writers of the 1960-70’s New Wave of feminism, which attempted to free women from the cruel bonds of patriarchal religions, all of which oppress women whether Christian, Jewish, or Muslim. But, in our time, the extremes of patriarchal, fanatical Islam are particularly oppressive of women. I congratulate al-Tahway and look forward to reading her book which sounds as if it is very well written and full of vital issues effecting half the human race. Fundamentalists patriarchal religions are a blight on human kind. There can be no true love between slave and master, and enlightened men everywhere know this and want their daughters and wives and sisters to be free of the oppressions which limit their human potential and keep them from true fulfillment.

  • no_slappz

    Dorothy Daniela Josephs,
    There are no enlightened men in islamic societies and there are very few enlightened muslim men in America. They repress and subjugate their wives and daughters here in the US and they have committed honor killings here around the country. Thus, there is the overwhelming possibility Ms al-Tahawy will run into trouble with the people she wants to escape.
    There is simply no comparison between Christianity, Judaism and Islam when the topic is women and women’s rights. In Islam it’s simple. Women have no rights. They are property.
    As someone who lives in Brooklyn, NY next to a huge Pakistani community that includes many women who wear the full black burkas and other total body coverings, every day I see the impact of Islam’s total control of their lives.
    Furthermore, American publishers have already backed away from publishing other books with Islamic themes and settings out of fear that muslims will find the books blasphemous. The publishers fear bombings and the honor killings of the women who wrote the books.
    Do you really need to an explanation for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto?

  • km

    @ no_slappz Have you read The Satanic Verses? You can educate yourself here – You’ll see that the subject matter was indeed rather more controversial than that of Al-Tahawy. I am looking forward to reading her book in the english translation – insight into the cultures of others facilitates understanding, which can only be a good thing.

  • no_slappz


    Islam makes itself evident and understood every day all around the world. A quck look at the Koran will tell you all you need to know. More significant is the fact that Islam is a far more than a religion. Above all it is a political doctrine that has no place for non-muslims.

  • no_slappz


    Yes, I’ve read the Satanic Verses. Still have the book. What you seem to have missed is the fact that muslim anger about the book is based on the usual muslim idiocy of knowing nothing about what was actually written, but instead, believing the rantings of illiterate mullahs who always strike against any public mention of Islam that fails to praise it.
    For the record, Islam is a religion/political doctrine that enslaves women, encourages sexual abuse of children and encourages genocide, Islam violently fights against freedom of speech, freedom of religion, equality and plurality, and it despises democracy.

  • Claude Scales

    no slappz: I’m not a Muslim, but I know that what you’ve written “for the record” is a cariacature of Islam based on its most radical elements. One could as easily present a distorted picture of Christianity based on, say, Pat Robertson or Opus Dei, or of Judaism based on the most ultra-orthodox. Islam is vast and complex, and includes mystical, non-violent strains such as Sufism, which has, I daresay, many more adherents than the militant, jihadist strain.

  • Reggie

    Brooklyn Heights, Boone NC, Arabic fiction … some times I feel excited about the potential for the 21st Century.

  • llllllllllllllllllxlllllllllllllllll

    no slappz…what does your post have to do with the writer of the novel, or brooklyn, or brooklyn heights. you tooled off some type of robotic rant against islam and muslims that was completely irrelelvant. take your medicine, or tell me about your mother.

  • Fred

    How are you today? Thank you for your input and I take it that you read Arabic and that you have read the book. It would have been great in that case if you had something to say about the book in any of its aspects, style or content or whatever caught your attention. If you do not read Arabic and you are already making all these judgments and predictions then you are no different than those you mentioned in your comment who protested “The Satanic Verses” without reading it. If you do not read Arabic then you are talking about a book that you have not read since the book did not come out in English or any other language yet. May I say, shame on you! It sounds that you are an Arab and Islam hater and you need any platform to make your ignorant statements which after reading them one can only conclude that there are idiots and hate mongers on all sides and you and those whom you criticize are a good match for one another but neither you nor they have anything to do with the religions and cultures they claim to speak for. Read the book and then talk and try to keep your remarks relevant to the topic so your opinion seems to have some relevance. Good luck to you.