RAWI (Radius of Arab-American Writers) Provides Creative Matrix for Writers across America

By Jabara, Abdeen | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, February 1998 | Go to article overview

RAWI (Radius of Arab-American Writers) Provides Creative Matrix for Writers across America


Jabara, Abdeen, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


RAWI (Radius of Arab-American Writers) Provides Creative Matrix for Writers Across America

One of the most exciting developments among Americans of Arab ancestry over the past decade has been the emergence of a number of artists, poets, novelists, essayists and journalists who have publicly identified themselves as being Arab-American. While some of these individuals are first generation, most are second and third. All of them have had an extraordinarily rich and varied creative output in either Arabic, English or both.

It was at the 1992 ADC convention in Washington, DC that several of the writers gathered informally to discuss their common needs as writers within American society and the possibility of forming an Arab-American writers' group. Shortly afterward, a letter was circulated announcing formation of the group and inviting membership. The initial letter spelled out aims of the group as follows:

1. To encourage our Arab youth to write.

2. To urge members to publish their work.

3. To offer members a professional network.

4. To support our brother and sister writers living in the Arab world, perhaps linking up with Arab writers' unions abroad.

5. To welcome established writers as well as writers beginning their careers.

6. To prepare a guide to Arab writers.

The group's first activity was an announcement that one of its members would conduct a writing workshop for Arab children at an upcoming ROOTS convention. A second letter went out to members and prospective members reporting that 14 members had met at the 1993 ADC convention. That letter went on to report literary news, publications of volumes of poetry and novels, and the start-up of an Arab reading group in Boston.

Barbara Nimri Aziz, a producer at New York's Pacifica radio station, WBAI, had been functioning as organizing director of the group, tentatively titled Arab Writers' Group. While the newsletter continued to send out news of its members and others in literary pursuits, the group's founding board, chaired by well-known novelist Etel Adnan, met and decided that its new name would be RAWI, an acronym for Radius of Arab-American Writers. This name was selected because RAWI, in Arabic, means "storyteller."

In the spring of 1994 RAWI's newsletter adopted a more professional format. One page, reporting on "What Our Writers Are Doing," contained entries for more than 20 members all over the United States -- in Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, New York and elsewhere -- and gave readers a glimpse of Arab-American literary contributions worldwide.

Especially exhilarating was the number of poetry publications and readings and novels. Even more encouraging was the fact that many members had received awards and honors for their work.

By the summer of 1994, the RAWI newsletter had its name in Arabic under its English-language title, and educational institutions were writing to the New York director's office to subscribe. More and more, RAWI's newsletter and periodic functions became a meeting ground and network for persons of Arab heritage who are writers, journalists and academics.

"We should be full of romance and heroism and mystery..."

RAWI's emergence as a serious organizing effort of Arab Americans who are professionally or non-professionally involved in writing and the arts comes at a time of greater national awareness of Arab-Americans as an emergent community within the American quilt of many colors -- one whose experiences, traditions and culture provided a very distinct hue that was neither black nor white.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

RAWI (Radius of Arab-American Writers) Provides Creative Matrix for Writers across America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.