Elmaz Abinader is an author, memoirist, performer and poet. Abinader’s work addresses the lives of the disenfranchised, the interior of countries and peoples who have been invaded, occupied, evacuated, and violated, and those who leave voluntarily and involuntarily. As a poet, the terrain of politics, of love and of the soul are captured in her writings; as a memoirist, she portrays her own family’s travels around the world; and as a performer, she presents narratives that bring us into the hearts and houses of those who are victims of political activities. She has won numerous awards, including a Goldies Award for Literature in 2002, the Josephine Miles PEN Oakland Award for her book of poetry, and two Drammies, Oregon’s Dram Critics Award.
Abinader’s books include Children of the Roojme: A Family’s Journey from Lebanon, (Norton, 1991; University of Wisconsin, 1997), and a book of poetry, In the County of Her Dreams… (Sufiwarrior Publishing, 1999). Her work has appeared in anthologies and collections, as well as in magazines, newspapers, and journals, including The Poetry of Arab Women, Scheherazade’s Legacy, ZZYZZVA, and New York Newsday.
Abinader has additionally performed with the Country of Origin Band and, along with composer Tony Khalife, created Storytelling Plays that she and the band have performed around the world. The performances and the plays address and aim to correct assumptions made about all Arabs and connect her experiences to the other histories that people hide inside.
Abinador’s next book, From this Country, is a journey to the small Appalachian town of her birth and to the countries of her culture’s birth.
Abinador teaches at Mills College in Oakland, California. She is also the co-founder, board president and faculty member for the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundations (VONA) which produces writing workshops for writers-of-color at the University of San Francisco.