From Harford Community College:
At the invitation of the State Department, Susan Muaddi Darraj, Associate Professor of English, Harford Community College, recently participated in a three-day reading tour in Amman, Jordan. Prof. Muaddi Darraj spoke at three universities and also met with writers’ groups and women’s organizations. During her visit to Jordan, she read from her book, did book signings, and strived to build bridges of understanding between Arabs and Americans via Arab-American literature. In addition, she appeared on a TV news program, Al-Rouiya, and had roundtable sessions with Jordanian journalists, which resulted in several newspaper pieces being written about the book.
The State Department bought the translation rights to Prof. Muaddi Darraj’s short story collection, The Inheritance of Exile, as part of its prestigious Arabic Book Program, which has been in existence since 1986. The translation was recently completed, and her book is now available in bookstores in Amman and other Middle East capitals. In addition, several hundred copies of The Inheritance of Exile have been distributed to college and senior high school students in Amman.
The Inheritance of Exile, which was published in 2007, is a work of fiction that tells the story of Arabic women living in the U.S. It is told through the perspective of Arab-American women and their mothers, discussing what it is like to grow up between cultures and reflecting on how good life is in the United States. Prof. Muaddi Darraj, who is an Arab-American born to immigrant parents, said her research was partially inspired by her own background. She hopes to contribute to the growing movement of Arab-American writers and wants to write authentic stories that show the diversity of the Middle East.
“It’s a great honor for Susan’s work to have been purchased by the State Department. She’s a hard worker, great instructor, and wonderful colleague. Her colleagues and I are proud of her accomplishments,” said Dr. Karry Hathaway, Dean of Humanities at Harford Community College.
Muaddi Darraj’s publisher was contacted by the State Department last summer about purchasing the translation rights to her book, and last month she felt honored when asked to do the reading tour, which was funded through a grant from the State Department.
Prof. Muaddi Darraj, who has been teaching full time at Harford Community College since 2004, earned a B.A. and M.A. in English literature from Rutgers University. Some of the courses she has taught at HCC include English 101 and 102, African American Literature, World Literature, Fiction and Creative Nonfiction. The mother of three young children, she is currently working on a novel as well as several articles.
Greenwood Press previously published a five-volume Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature containing several entries authored by Prof. Muaddi Darraj. Edited by distinguished scholar Emmanuel S. Nelson, the encyclopedia was the first of its kind and featured more than 1,100 entries by more than 300 scholars. It covered the entire range of ethnic American literature from the colonial era to the present, and demonstrated the accomplishments of members of diverse cultural groups. It is a valuable reference tool for anyone interested in understanding contemporary American society.
Her other books include young adult biographies of Queen Noor, Indira Gandhi, and John F. Kennedy, among others, for Chelsea House Publishers. In addition, Prof. Muaddi Darraj’s articles have appeared in various publications and anthologies including “Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century” and “Colonize This: Young Women of Color on Feminism.” Scheherazade’s Legacy, a text edited by Susan Muaddi Darraj, was published by Praeger in 2004.
Prof. Muaddi Darraj serves as the conference liaison for The Baltimore Review.
At the invitation of the State Department, Susan Muaddi Darraj, Associate Professor of English, Harford Community College (HCC), recently participated in a three-day reading tour in Amman, Jordan. During her visit to Jordan, Prof. Muaddi Darraj met with several groups, appeared on a TV news program, read from her book, did book signings, and strived to build bridges of understanding between Arabs and Americans via Arab-American literature.