#YMERC2020 July Part 1

Ahlan wa sahlan! Thank you for joining in with us in the Year of the Middle Eastern Reading Challenge (YMERC). As promised, I will begin each month with: A book by a Middle Eastern authorA graphic novel by a Middle Eastern author and/or Middle Eastern illustratorA new Arabic song to listen to throughout the month … Continue reading #YMERC2020 July Part 1

Arabic in Trinidad and Tobago

Interesting article on migration of Syrians and Lebanese to the Caribbean.

Language Blag

Arabic in Trinidad and Tobago


Ramón Mansoor


The major waves of immigrants from Syria and Lebanon to the island of Trinidad took place in the 1930s. Although Arabic first appeared in Trinidad in the 19th century, with Islamicized West African Savannah peoples, Arabic as a home and vernacular language probably first came with the Middle Eastern Arabs of Syria and Lebanon. In spite of the difficulties involved in establishing precise dates, one can say that the first generation of Trinidadian-born Syrians and Lebanese appeared in the late thirties up to the late forties and early fifties.

This first Trinidadian-born generation was exposed to the simultaneous presence at home of both Arabic and English. These two languages impacted their view of the world—their perceiving, remembering, comprehending and thinking.

As a heritage language, Arabic is a language of personal connection, of family intimacy, love and solidarity. The grammatical structures and…

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5 Female International Music Artists With Arab Roots You Knew Little About

طين Times

By: Jana Shorbagy

We’re all familiar with every single international artist either female or male, were also familiar with some of the OG arab queens like, Asala, Myriam Fares, Elissa, and Nancy Ajram for example. However, there are some pretty cool young, originally arab, female music artists on the rise internationally, and while only parts of their songs are in arabic, their music is interdisciplinary and amazing to listen to. The whole euro-arab and/or us-arab fusion is out of this world, each artist on this list is worth a listen, for real.

1- Faouzia

Canadian-Moroccan (19 year old) singer and song writer – also rift queen, Faouzia. She was born in Casablanca but later moved with her family to Manitoba, Canada. She started out on YouTube pretty young, writing and performing her own songs before she got signed and went viral about 8 months ago via her Beyoncé rift and…

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Fanticipating Reads of May 2020 || 5 Under-Hyped Diverse Reads To Look Out For This Month


Fanticipating Reads is a monthly feature where I bring five diverse books to share with the blog readers. They are what I consider under-hyped but seem to be hidden gems so this is a short collection of what upcoming releases one should not be sleeping on.

1. THE THIRTY NAMES OF NIGHT by Zayn Joukhadar

Releasing on 19 May 2020

✔ features three generations of Syrian-Americans
✔ mystery around birds
✔ trans boy protagonist
✔ mother’s ghost guides her son, Nadir, to unravel the mysteries around a rare bird
✔ ‘important themes of migration, sexuality, belonging, and love.’

Add on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon

2. PARACHUTES by Kelly Yang

Releasing on 26 May 2020

✔ young Asians as immigrant students
✔ focuses on female friendships
✔ themes of trauma & finding your voice during an immigrant experience
✔ treating sexual harassment and assault with empathy
✔ glitz and greed…

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Depth and drama in Ross’s Grenadian crime fiction — Repeating Islands

A review by John Robert Lee for Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday. Caribbean fiction has been expanding its genres in all directions for several years: magical realism to sci-fi or speculative fiction, contemporary historical fiction to the complexities of relationships in today’s world, novels and stories experimenting with form, freer in the use of “nation language,” … Continue reading Depth and drama in Ross’s Grenadian crime fiction — Repeating Islands

Unapologetically Muslim Reading Challenge! (2020)

The Perks of Being Noura


Welcome to the Unapologetically Muslim Reading Challenge!

My favorite 2020 project yet! This has been in the making for some time now, and I’m finally ready to announce it. I’m dedicating my 2020 to reading more books by Muslim authors. I want to show my support for Muslim authors who do their best to bring us the representation we’ve been waiting for, and the representation that we feel proud of and to raise our voices in literature.

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The Year of the Middle Eastern Reading Challenge + Unapologetically Muslim Reading Challenge? Yes, please.

In a few days, I’m finally receiving my “doctorhood” towards which I have been working relentlessly for years. Of course, I’m ready to confront such questions as:

Exactly what are you a doctor of?

A doctor of literature? A doctor of philosophy?

A doctor of words? Sounds bizarre, but it seems like a good definition of a literary critic.

If I’m being specific, however, my work focuses on diaspora literature and the notion of Muslimness. My project “Transitional Spaces, Transnational Narratives, and Representation: Muslimness in Contemporary Literary Imaginations” intervenes in debates surrounding Muslims, Islam, and the representations of Muslimness in the Global North.

So, it goes without saying that I’ve been quite excited about:

  1. The Year of the Middle Eastern Reading Challenge launched by Reading Between the Dunes
  2. Unapologetically Muslim Reading Challenge that The Perks of Being Noura Blog has started

I find these two reading challenges critical in the current sociopolitical climate–at…

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