Rabih Alameddine

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Rabih Alameddine
Rabih Alameddine in 2017
Born1959 (age 63–64)
Amman, Jordan
Alma materUniversity of California at Los Angeles

Rabih Alameddine (Arabic: ربيع علم الدين; born 1959) is an American painter and writer.[1] His 2021 novel The Wrong End of the Telescope won the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.[2]

Early life[edit]

Alameddine was born in Amman, Jordan to Lebanese Druze[3] parents (Alameddine himself is an atheist).[4] He grew up in Kuwait and Lebanon, which he left at age 17 to live first in England and then in California. He earned a degree in engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Master of Business in San Francisco. Alameddine is gay.[5]


Alameddine began his career as an engineer, then moved to writing and painting. His debut novel Koolaids, which touched on both the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco and the Lebanese Civil War, was published in 1998 by Picador.[6] The author of six novels and a collection of short stories, Alameddine was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002.[7] He has lived in San Francisco and Beirut and currently teaches at the University of Virginia's creative writing program.[8][9]

In 2014, Alameddine was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and he won the California Book Awards Gold Medal Fiction for An Unnecessary Woman.[10][11] Alameddine is best known for this novel, which tells the story of Aaliya, a Lebanese woman and translator living in war-torn Lebanon. The novel "manifests traumatic signposts of the [Lebanese] civil war, which make it indelibly situational, and accordingly latches onto complex psychological issues."[12]

In 2017, Alameddine won the Arab American Book Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction for The Angel of History.[13][14]

He was shortlisted for the 2021 Sunday Times Short Story Award for his story, "The July War".[15]

The Wrong End of the Telescope won the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.[2]



  1. ^ "Rabih Alameddine: 'Right now in the west, Arabs are the other'". Guardian. January 9, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Schaub, Michael (April 6, 2022). "Rabih Alameddine Wins the PEN/Faulkner Award". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  3. ^ Curiel, Jonathan (April 29, 2008). "Alameddine". SFGate, website of the San Francisco Chronicle. sfgate.com. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  4. ^ Devlin, Kieron (Spring 2002). "A Conversation with Rabih Alameddine". Mississippi Review. Vol. 8, No. 2. Archived from the original on August 23, 2010. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  5. ^ "Sassy, Queer, and Lebanese: Life Lessons with Rabih Alameddine". The Princetonian. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  6. ^ Khatib, Joumana (September 1, 2021). "Refugees Are Suffering. This Novelist Won't Look Away". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  7. ^ Waïl S. Hassan, "Queering Orientalism," Chapter 9 of Immigrant Narratives: Orientalism and Cultural Translation in Arab American and Arab British Literature. Oxford University Press, 2011. Pp. 199-219.
  8. ^ "My wounds will not be healed in my lifetime: Rabih Alameddine". Livemint. April 6, 2018.
  9. ^ "Rabih Alameddine | Creative Writing Program". creativewriting.virginia.edu. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  10. ^ "National Book Critics Circle Announces Finalists for Publishing Year 2014". National Book Critics Circle. January 19, 2015. Archived from the original on January 22, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  11. ^ "84th Annual California Book Awards Winners". Commonwealth Club of California. commonwealthclub.org. 2015. Archived from the original on February 27, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  12. ^ Madiou, Mohamed Salah Eddine (July 1, 2021). "Abject Talks Gibberish: "Translating" Abjection in Rabih Alameddine's An Unnecessary Woman". Arab Studies Quarterly. Pluto Journals. 43 (3): 249–267. doi:10.13169/arabstudquar.43.3.0249.
  13. ^ "2017 Arab American Book Award Winners – Fiction: The Angel of History by Rabin Alameddine Archived October 7, 2018, at the Wayback Machine". Arab American National Museum. arabamericanmuseum.org. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  14. ^ "Rabih Alameddine: 'I think we lose something once we get accepted'". Guardian. October 9, 2016.
  15. ^ "The 2021 shortlist". The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award. Archived from the original on June 27, 2021. Retrieved July 9, 2021.

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