Jessica Jiji has earned accolades including the Page International Screenwriting Award Gold Prize in the Family category for her feature ‘World Class’, Winner of the Big Apple Film Festival for her short ‘Transjordan,’ as well as Semifinalist and Second Rounder at the Austin Film Festival. Her scripts have also been recognized by the Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards, WeScreenplay, ScreenCraft and two different Launch Pad competitions. Her novels, which earned praise for their positive portrayal of Arab culture, drawn from her Iraqi heritage, were published in both English and Italian.
Jessica Jiji is the author of several acclaimed novels and screenplays that have earned recognition at top competitions such as Gold Prize at the Page International Screenwriting Awards and Winner of the Big Apple Film Festival. She lives in New York City with her husband and their three sons.
The coming-of-age novel is a perennial favorite, and this month’s list of new books is rich with examples. Whether in the hothouse environment of an arts school or in Iraq in the 1940s, adolescents struggling toward adulthood offer moments of tenderness and amusement. And, of course, there are killers, too.
Jiji (Diamonds Take Forever ) explores the ties that bind and break family, friendship, and love in 1941 Iraq. Heartbroken that her family won't allow her to marry at 13 and be “ushered to the protection of a new home under the guard of a stern husband in the dewy marshlands north of Basra,” Kathmiya Mahmoud is sent to work as a maid in the city of Basra, where her frequent visits to marriage brokers turn up no prospective husbands.
Since the September 2001 suicide attacks on New York, the city’s bookstores have been flooded with volumes of nonfiction works attempting to explain the phenomenon of terrorism and its links with the world of Islam and the Middle East. While some scholars have duly warned of the dangers of perpetuating the myth of a “clash of civilizations”, coupled with the notion of “us and them”, others have seemed to relish inflaming anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment.