Austin Mayor’s Book Club spotlights narratives of refugee experience


Narratives of the refugee experience are the focus the Mayor’s Book Club for 2018.

The public reading campaign selected three books:

  • Syrian author Osama Alomar’s “The Teeth of the Comb.” Alomar’s very short stories playfully yet philosophically serve satirical parables and expose many forms of repression. Alomar left Syria for the United States in 2008. He is currently Exiled Writer-in-Residence by City of Asylum in Pittsburgh.
  • “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid. A finalist for the Man Booker and a New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2017, “Exit West,” Hamid’s fourth novel, finds a couple in an unnamed country forced to flee a civil war, their plight deftly told in a fusion of the real and the surreal. Hamid was born in Pakistan and spent much of his childhood and young adulthood in the U.S. and the U.K. before returning to Pakistan.
  • “We Crossed A Bridge and It Trembled” by Wendy Pearlman. Pearlman, a scholar and professor at Northwestern University, interviewed more than 300 Syrian refugees across the Middle East and Europe, collecting testimonials from people transformed by revolution, war, and displacement.

Author events will be at the new Central Library. Events are free.

  • Osama Alomar and Wendy Pearlman, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 25
  • Mohsin Hamid 7 p.m. April 11.

The Mayor’s Book Club is a collaboration of the Library Foundation and the Austin Public Library.

Recently Austin Mayor Steve Adler made Foreign Policy magazine’s Leading Global Thinkers of 2017.

“At the beginning of the year, I said that the world can completely lose its mind and we’re still going to be Austin, Texas. I said that no matter what happens that we would remain resolutely and unapologetically Austin,” said Mayor Adler. “We spent the entire year showing how committed we are to what is most important to us in Austin, and that’s each other. No matter where you come from or who you are, everyone deserves to feel safe in Austin.”

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.

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