“It must be a skill, like fishing, to cast your net into a river of dreams and catch a splendid array of words.” So says the young poet Nur, one of the complex characters in Lyrics Alley, the newest novel by Muslim Sudanese-Egyptian author Leila Aboulela. It is true. Writing is a skill requiring practice and dreaming.
This summer I am spending six weeks in Paris, France as the Writer-in-Residence at L’église Américaine à Paris. I will be giving a few talks and working on my next writing project. In order to write well, I believe it is important to read well. So, as part of my writing practice over the next six weeks I will be reading a few works of fiction by and about non-Americans. As writers and readers I think it is essential to encounter the stories of those distinctively different from whomever we consider ourselves to be.