What Writers are Reading: Osama Alomar

by    /  April 9, 2019  / Comments Off on What Writers are Reading: Osama Alomar

Born in Damascus, Syria in 1968 and now living in Pittsburgh via Chicago, Osama Alomar is one of the most well-respected Arabic poets writing today, and a prominent practitioner of the Arabic al-qisa al-qasira jiddan, the “very short story.” He is the author of Fullblood Arabian in English, as well as three collections of short stories and a volume of poetry in Arabic. Alomar’s first full-length collection of stories, The Teeth of the Comb, was published by New Directions in April 2017. His short stories have been published in Newyorker.com, Noon, Conjunctions.com, The Coffin Factory, Electric Literature, and The Literary Review. Currently, Alomar is working on a new novel about the Syrian War tentatively titled The Womb, as well as another project called The Book of Meditations about love, hate, democracy, dictatorships, motherhood, freedom, success, and failure, among other concepts surrounding the human experience. He also enjoys singing and playing guitar, and often travels with his translator, C.J. Collins. He is a current writer-in-residence at City of Asylum Pittsburgh.

What are you reading right now?
I’m reading a novel titled Death Is Hard Work by Syrian writer Khaled Khalifa.

What five current reading suggestions would you share with the Sampsonia Way audience?
1) The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
2) The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
3) A Life of Adventure and Delight by Akhil Sharma
4) The Stone Building and Other Places by Asli Erdoğan
5) Love Hotel by Jane Unrue

What stories made you want to become a writer?
After I read Gibran’s short stories when I was 14, I felt that writing was my future.  

What are your reading habits like? When do you read?
I need a quiet place for reading, like in my room, with a cup of tea or coffee.

How does what you read inform your writing projects?
Reading is a great opportunity for me to create new ideas and thoughts for my new projects like short stories, poems, or novels. Reading is a kind of creativity-fuel.

Is there anything else you want to share about your reading?
Besides literary reading, I like to read books about astronomy, history, nature, and animals to expand my horizons.

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