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avatar for Diana Abu-Jaber

Diana Abu-Jaber

Bio:
Diana Abu-Jaber’s newest novel, Birds Of Paradise, is the winner of the 2012 Arab-American National Book Award. It was also an Indiepicks selection, named one of the top books of the year by National Public Radio, the Washington Post, and the Oregonian, and a finalist for both the Northwest Bookseller’s Award and the Chautauqua Prize.

Diana was born in Syracuse, New York to an American mother and a Jordanian father. When she was seven, her family moved to Jordan for two years, and elements of both her American and Jordanian experiences, as well as cross-cultural issues appear in her work.

Her novel, Origin was named one of the best books of the year by the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post. Her second novel, Crescent, won the PEN Center Award for Literary fiction and the American Book Award. Her first novel, Arabian Jazz  won the Oregon Book award for Literary Fiction.

The Language of Baklava, her cooking memoir, won the Northwest Booksellers’ Award, was a finalist for a James Beard Award, and has been published in many languages.

Diana teaches at Portland State University and divides her time between Portland, Oregon and Miami, Florida.


Birds of Paradise


In the tropical paradise that is Miami, Avis and Brian Muir are still haunted by the disappearance of their ineffably beautiful daughter, Felice, who ran away when she was thirteen. Now, after five years of modeling tattoos, skateboarding, clubbing, and sleeping in a squat house or on the beach, Felice is about to turn eighteen. Her family—Avis, an exquisitely talented pastry chef; Brian, a corporate real estate attorney; and her brother, Stanley, the proprietor of Freshly Grown, a trendy food market—will each be forced to confront their anguish, loss, and sense of betrayal. Meanwhile, Felice must reckon with the guilty secret that drove her away, and must face her fear of losing her family and her sense of self forever. This multilayered novel about a family that comes apart at the seams—and finds its way together again—is totally involving and deeply satisfying, a glorious feast of a book.