A Curious Land: Stories from Home CurLandCover

Winner, 2014 AWP Grace Paley Award for Short Fiction

Winner, American Book Award, 2016

Winner, Arab American Book Award, 2016

Shortlisted, Palestine Book Awards, 2016

“These linked stories about the people of the village of Tel al-Hilou, and their descendants in today’s United States of America, span over a century. The author’s empathy for the large cast of embattled characters is miraculous. In particular, we get to know the quietly heroic Palestinian women in these stories as intimately as we know the people closest to us. Astonishingly, this collection is, above all, about the transformative powers of love.”―Jaime Manrique, author of Our Lives Are the Rivers

“A gorgeous book encompassing a century’s worth of Palestinian and Palestinian-American stories. Chatty, generous, and often hilarious, this book is full of characters you won’t want to leave behind. Muaddi Darraj has crafted a highly memorable collection.”―Randa Jarrar, author of A Map of Home: A Novel

“I’ve always thought that Susan Muaddi Darraj’s stories were remarkable in the way they unfolded a life, or parts of life, with wisdom and subtlety. The stories in A Curious Land do that, but they take the experience further―while still intimate, their breadth and vision is epic. Intertwining joys and sorrows that span generations, they dissolve the boundaries that can separate people, and instead, brings them, and us, closer, so much so―and this is what makes these stories so stunning―that as far-removed or different as our own lives may be (or we think that they may be) from the lives of these characters, we end up seeing ourselves, our families, the people who make us who we are, on every single page.”―Hayan Charara, author of The Sadness of Others

“The poignant sense of time and place so beautifully captured in A Curious Land makes it impossible for readers to forget these carefully interlinked stories, which vividly depict the lives of the inhabitants of Tel al-Hilou, a Palestinian village in the West Bank. Susan Muaddi Darraj’s well-crafted characters and her brilliant attention to the details of their individual and collective experiences of love, occupation, immigration, and loss over the span of several decades creates an immensely powerful, intimate, and complex portrait of Palestinian lives, both at home and in the diaspora.”―Carol Fadda-Conrey, Associate Professor of English, Syracuse University

Reader’s Guide available at UMass website. (Click on “Resources.”)


The Inheritance of Exile: Stories from South PhillyP01156

Winner, ForeWord Magazine, Book of the Year (Short Fiction)

Finalist, AWP Book Awards, Short Fiction

Finalist, John Gardener Fiction Award 

“In The Inheritance of Exile, Susan Muaddi Darraj expertly weaves a tapestry of the events and struggles in the lives of four Arab-American women. Hanan, Nadia, Reema, and Aliyah search for a meaningful sense of home, caught in the cultural gap that exists between the Middle East and the United States.”

“This sweet, sorrowful book is rich with insight. The Inheritance of Exile tells an authentic story of Arab-American life—these characters are true, expressive, and moving. A fully engaging, satisfying collection indeed.” —Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Origin, Crescent, and The Language of Baklava
“These dazzling stories of four Palestinian-American women and their families give us a rare portrait of the life of exiles in America. Susan Muaddi Darraj writes with care and intelligence, and her compassion for her flawed and complex characters reminds us of our own humanity.” —Laila Lalami, author of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
The Inheritance of Exile is a remarkably engaging collection. With this effort, Muaddi Darraj announces her presence as a major voice in the genre of fiction. The collection sparkles with a lively sense of place, conflict, and description. So often, and so vividly, I felt as if I was reading the cultural items from my own memory.” —Steven Salaita, author of Arab American Literary Fictions, Cultures, and Politics