Middle Eastern Authors- The Fiction Edition

Middle Eastern Authors- The Fiction Edition

Creating this list has been a bit of a challenge. Not because I couldn’t find anything, but because there are so many books I want to talk about.

I’ve also been struggling with my presentation. It’s important to me that the information I provide is accurate and inoffensive. In particular, I believe that language matters. I know that the phrase ‘The Middle East’ is, itself, controversial (here’s a quick rundown of why). The inclusion or omission of specific countries in this post is not intended as a political statement.

I’m also aware that many people think ‘Arab’, ‘Muslim’ and ‘Middle Eastern’ are synonyms. They definitely aren’t (this Quora thread sums it up nicely). As of right now, though, I can’t come up with a better list title. I’m open to suggestions and critique, so feel free to let me know if there’s a better term I should be using.

For the purposes of this list, I went with the broadest definitions possible. It’s definitely not all-inclusive, and I chose not to include poets. My intent is to publish a non-fiction list soon (fingers crossed). The links below will take you to information about each author. I’ve also included book titles, and (genres).

Ahdaf SoueifThe Map of Love (historical)

Ahlam MosteghanemiMemory in the Flesh (historical)

Ahmed SaadawiFrankenstein in Baghdad (horror/contemporary)

Alia MamdouhNaphtalene (historical)

Assaf GavronThe Hilltop and Almost Dead (contemporary)

Elif ShafakThe Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love (contemporaries) and The Architect’s Apprentice (historical)

Hanan al-ShaykhThe Story of Zahra and Women of Sand and Myrrh (contemporary)

Khaled HosseiniThe Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and And the Mountains Echoed (contemporary)

Laila LalamiThe Moor’s Account (historical) and Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits (contemporary)

Miral al-TahawyThe Tent and Brooklyn Heights (contemporary)

Orhan PamukMy Name is Red (historical) and Snow (contemporary)

Rabih AlameddineAn Unnecessary Woman (contemporary)

Radwa AshourThe Woman from Tantoura (contemporary)

Raja’a AlemThe Dove’s Necklace (mystery)

Rajaa al-SaneaGirls of Riyadh (contemporary)

Randa Abdel-FattahDoes My Head Look Big in This? and The Lines We Cross (teen)

Randa JarrarA Map of Home (contemporary)

Saladin AhmedThrone of the Crescent Moon (sci-fi)

Shahriar MandanipourCensoring an Iranian Love story (contemporary)

Susan AbulhawaMornings in Jenin (historical/contemporary) and The Blue Between Sky and Water (contemporary)

Wajdi al-AhdalA Land Without Jasmine (mystery)


I hope this post inspires you to branch out, and try a new author. Please let me know if you think I should add anyone.

Happy reading, everyone!


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