Zeyn Joukhadar

in conversation with Catherine Hernandez

Recorded Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

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Zeyn Joukhader in conversation with Catherine Hernandez

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Zeyn Joukhadar’s The Thirty Names of Night is a remarkably moving and lyrical novel that follows three generations of Syrian Americans who are linked by a mysterious species of bird and the truths they carry close to their hearts.

Zeyn Joukhadar is also the author of The Map of Salt and Stars, which has been translated into twenty languages, was a 2018 Middle East Book Award winner in Youth Literature, a 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist in Historical Fiction and was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. He is a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in KINK: Stories (edited by RO Kwon & Garth Greenwell), Salon, The Paris Review, Shondaland, [PANK], and elsewhere, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. Joukhadar has received fellowships from the Montalvo Arts Center Lucas Artists Program, the Arab American National Museum, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Camargo Foundation, and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.

Catherine Hernandez is a proud queer woman of colour, radical mother, theatre practitioner, award-winning author, and the Artistic Director of b current performing arts. Catherine’s first full-length fiction, Scarborough, won the Jim Wong-Chu Award for the unpublished manuscript and was shortlisted for various awards. Her one-woman show, The Femme Playlist, premiered at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in 2014 as part of the afterRock Play Series co-produced by b current, Eventual Ashes and Sulong Theatre. She has released two childrens books, M is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book and I Promise, and her second novel, Crosshairs, is due to be released December 8th.

“Zeyn Joukhadar’s new book is a vivid exploration of loss, art, queer and trans communities, and the persistence of history. Often tender, always engrossing, The Thirty Names of Night is a feat.”

– R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries

Get ready to join Zeyn in conversation, Tuesday, December 15th.

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Check out the list of questions submitted by other registered attendees, and then vote to support any that match your interests.

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    I feel like the telling of queer stories is so important in a political and social moment filled with so much erasure and dehumanization. What does it mean for you to tell queer stories? Do you feel extra pressure to tell these stories becuase they are less told?

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    How has the pandemic affected your life as a writer and as a person?

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    What is next for you? Wishing you the very best.

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    What is the last thing you saw or read that moved you?

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    You worked as a biomedical research scientist before switching careers. What made you leave science to pursue a career in writing?

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    How do you think The Map of Salt and Stars can help readers to understand the Syrian refugee crisis?

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    Struggling to make time for myself to write – any advice?

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    What is your writing process like? I’m interested in the nitty gritty, pen vs pencil, computer vs paper. Does inspiration strike you out of the blue or is it more subtle than that?

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    The thirty names of night is just a beautiful title, it strikes me everytime – when did you know this would be the name of your novel, and where did the inspiration come from?

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    What was your inspiration for coming up with “The Thirty Names of Night”

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    Who are some of your favorite authors, whether fiction or non-fiction, and have they influenced your writing?

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    Did you receive support from your family when you came out? This must have been such a difficult and emotional time for you.