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Upcoming Events



Join the VONA Faculty for Readings on June 22 & 29

at Houston Hall, Bodek Room 7:00 

Free, Eventbrite has tickets


New Writings

12/29  A Question of Faith

With the small "f" faith, the system of beliefs is designed by the individual and allows each person to identify what is in their heart, what the boundaries of behaviour are; how they face their own mortality. It makes the faith an experience of leaping and questioning; it is dynamic and active. 

12/12  Tell Everyone: I am Affirmative Action

.Affirmative action is not about the numbers or the race card or the blame game — the most important word there is ACTION. We take an action to give you opportunity to a world outside of your own.


12/ 4   When is a Mass Shooting More than a Mass Shooting?

Because we - Arab Americans, Muslim Americans - know that while "mass shootings" conducted by white men are assigned to an individual, acts of "terrorism" belong to an entire community. 


11/18  Could Jeb Bush Pass His Own Christianity Test?

But let’s give ourselves the Christianity test, whether we’re Christian or not. When we want to put children in cages on the border or deny persecuted people a refuge, what are our guiding principles?

11/16  The News and The Heart--The Muslim Body at Risk

Very often the face of fear is still, unmoving, unable to express because the repressing of this very active feeling is paralyzing — overworking the heart and the nervous system.



This House, My Bones

"This House, My Bones" is a gorgeously scripted chronicle that probes the collective heart and the countries we inhabit when we dare to speak outloud. There's an insistent rhythm in these stanzas, a lyricism of light and lineage stamped with the undeniable signature of a poet at the height of her craft. Savor these poems, and be lifted by their music.

Patricia Smith, Author of Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner--2013 Lenore Marshal Poetry Prize


"Elmaz Abinader is a poet fiercely committed to the world’s beauty, to history, to lost voices and the people she loves.  Her witness is “a drawing’s wisdom,” her 100 year old Lebanese father’s memories, connections between Pennsylvania and Abu Dis.  Like the first cup of coffee, her words awaken us to cardamom and memory, to reasons to celebrate amid the world’s injustice and travails.  This House, My Bones: read it and be blessed."

David Mura, author of The Last Incantations and The Colors of Desire





Children of the Roojme: A Family's Journey from Lebanon  (Memoir)

"More than a chronicle of immigration, Children of the Roojme also dramatizes the plight of those left behind in Lebanon as they endure famine, war, plagues of locusts, epidemics and family rivalries."—Joseph Geha, New York Times Book Review



In the Country of My Dreams....  (Poetry)

"Elmaz Abinader's In the Country of My Dreams redeems the achievements of a century that has struggled long and hard with tolerance and inclusion. Daughter of immigrants from Lebanon, she sings of their birthplace that she too claims as her own, and of the American landscape she reverently loves and calls home. I salute the arrival of these poems and their author for their expansive compassion and their delicate enduring tenderness." -- Khaled Mattawa

 Winner of the 2000 Josephine Miles PEN Award


The Plays


Country of Origin A 3 act, one-woman show, tells the story of 3 generations of Arab/Arab-American women who face questions of identity and place in 3 different historical periods. The best known of her works, Elmaz most recently performed Country of Origin at the Kennedy Center. It has won two Drammies (Oregon's Drama Circle Awards) 1:25

See the Video of The Country of Origin at the Kennedy Center

Winner of two Drammies, Oregon's Drama Award

Ramadan Moon, a two act one woman show about veiling what it represents and how it shifts the persepctive on the women. :70

The Torture Quartet, four voices in this play of poetry are characters of a torture scene: the mother of the tortured, the victim, the soldier in charge and the interpeter who delivers the commands. 1:10