Rajiv Mohabir and Mortada Gzar

Noted poet and translator Rajiv Mohabir, along with Seattle-based Iraqi writer Mortada Gzar (more on him below) make this welcome September visit for the paperback of Roajiv Mohabir’s much-acclaimed prose debut, Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir. Recipient of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing (which has helped launch several excellent books), this was also a Lambda and PEN Book Book Award finalist, and received a 2021 Indies FOREWORD Award for LGBTQ+ non-fiction. 

“The stakes of Indo-Guyanese poet Rajiv Mohabir’s passionate memoir Antiman are high from the start…. While the memoir richly explores an awakening to anti-colonial politics and a queer coming-of-age, its emotional core is the anguish of repeatedly being made to stand apart…. The memoir refuses genre. Instead, it invents its own radical, striking, fragmented form, which reflects Mohabir’s efforts to mend himself…. His stunning original poetry flies abreast of translated Bhojpuri songs. Anti-colonial polemic enlivens prose about his quest for a place his fluid self might move within rigid lines of identity. Antiman makes its own way in American letters. Transfused with what Mohabir calls in his author’s note, “the queerest magic” of his Aji’s songs, it’s an incomparable, hybrid account of self and family that defies expectations.  Singular, fierce: That’s the gorgeous sound of a bird taking flight.” —Anita Felicelli, The Washington Post.

Rajiv Mohabir’s Antiman is a powerful portrait of the artist as a young, brown, immigrant, queer man and is my favorite kind of book, prose written by a poet…. This book stops time to celebrate voices worth remembering.”  —Grace Talusan.

Rajiv Mohabir is also author of the prize-winning and/or -nominated poetry collections Cutlish, The Cowherd’s Son, and The Taxidermist’s Cut. His translation of I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara (1916) received a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant Award and the 2020 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Also very much reading and talking tonight, added as this program was initially announced, is award-winning, Seattle-based Iraqi writer, filmmaker, journalist, and artist Mortada Gzar. His  most recent book, I’m in Seattle, Where Are You? A Memoir (Amazon Crossing, translated by William Hutchins), released last year, comes after a number of acclaimed novels, a short story collection, a children’s book, and other children’s books he’s illustrated. He has founded the Seattle Arab Film Festival, hosted by the Northwest Film Forum.

“At once hilarious and truly haunting, I’m in Seattle, Where Are You? is a story of so much: war and savagery, queerness and exile, love and loss. Mortada Gzar is the rare memoirist who understands memory itself—illogical, impossible, magical.” —Rumaan Alam.

Mortada Gzar’s memoir, I’m in Seattle, Where Are You?, is a dazzling account of love, loss, and the complications of exile. This Iraqi novelist, filmmaker, and artist, a Whitman-like figure who contains multitudes in his embrace of the cosmos, understands ‘that stories, like meteors, obey the laws of physics,’ and what emerges in the stories he tells to an array of characters, including the statue of a vagrant, is proof that while ‘their energy does not fade or increase’ they will shape the lives and thinking of those who have the good luck to hear them. This is exactly the book to read in this fraught time.” —Christopher Merrill

This is scheduled to be live, in-person at Elliott Bay Book Company. And it should be quite lively.


Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir By Rajiv Mohabir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632062802
Availability: Ships in 2-10 Days
Published: Restless Books - June 22nd, 2021

I'm in Seattle, Where Are You?: A Memoir By Mortada Gzar, William Hutchins (Translator) Cover Image
By Mortada Gzar, William Hutchins (Translator)
ISBN: 9781542016582
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amazon Crossing - April 1st, 2021

Live & In-Person at Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 Tenth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
Wednesday, September 7, 2022 - 7:00pm
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