Celebrating Poetic Prose


Zaina Alsous, a second-year M.F.A. student, was awarded the 2019 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize for her collection A Theory of Birds. Alsous will receive a $1,000 award, and the University of Arkansas Press will publish her book in the fall of 2019.

This prestigious prize is offered annually by the University of Arkansas Press and the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) for a poetry volume in English by a writer of Arab descent. A Theory of Birds uses ornithology as metaphor, placing species naming and extinction in conversation with colonial “discovery” events and the gaze that assists imperial violence.

Alsous is a daughter of the Palestinian diaspora, born and raised in North Carolina. She currently lives in Miami while pursuing an M.F.A .in poetry and teaching undergraduate writing at UM.

The Etel Adnan Poetry Prize is supported by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas. It is named for Lebanese poet, essayist, and visual artist Etel Adnan, who the journal MELUS—The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States—called "arguably the most celebrated and accomplished Arab American author writing today."

Every year the University of Arkansas Press together with the Radius of Arab American Writers accepts submissions for the Etel Adnan Poetry Series and awards the $1,000 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize to a first or second book of poetry, in English, by a writer of Arab heritage. Since its founding in 1996, the Radius of Arab American Writers has celebrated and fostered the writings and writers that make up the vibrant and diverse Arab American community.

October 08, 2018