Arab American

Early Arab American Literature

  • Ameen Rihani (1876-1940) was an Arab American writer of Lebanese decent and the first Arab American to publish a novel in English in the United States.
  • Khalil Gibran was a Lebanese American poet most famous for his book The Prophet, published in 1923.
  • Other early Arab American literary figures include Elia abu MadiMikhail Naimy, and Nasib Arida, all of whom were members of the Pen League, an Arab-American literary society.

Early 19th Century

Some of the Arab American writers writing during 1920’s and 30’s, when the Johnson-Reed Quota Act limited the number of immigrants, and the literary contributions from Arab Americans were few.*

Contemporary Arab American Writers:

  • Elmaz Abinader, Diana Abu-Jaber, Joseph Geha, D.H. Melhem
  • Poets: H.S. Hamod, Samuel Hazo, Lawrence Joseph, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lisa Suhair Majaj, Etel Adnan

*Much of the information here is derived from Lisa Suhair Majaj’s article in the American Studies Journal, Number 52, Winter 2008, “Arab American Literature: Origins and Developments”. See this article for more comprehensive overview of Arab American Literature.

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