Launching L’Epouse D’Amman in Paris [Photos]


I finally had the chance to travel to Paris for a quick visit where I met “L’Epouse D’Amman” translator Davide Knecht, editor Thomas Scholari, and publisher Philippe Thiollier (and his lovely mother who started the publishing house and proof read the French translation), as well as Clara Pero who is handling the communications and PR at L’asiatheque and doing a wonderful job at it.

Philippe kindly hosted me at their bookstore L’asiatheque for a book launch event where we read few passages from the book in both French and Arabic, presented the story and characters, and discussed the topic the book tackles. It was a very lovely night and we had a beautiful crowd. And I was particularly happy to finally meet Cheryl Toman, Professor of French and Chair, Modern Languages and Classics at The University of Alabama, which was a very pleasant surprise. Cheryl contacted me more than a year ago informing me that she has been teaching the book to her students and planning a visit to Jordan for the group. At the time I couldn’t make it to Jordan, neither did they as covid happened. Fortunately, we had the chance to meet in Paris. My good friends Naji Haddadin and Mohammed Sleeq joined and Naji put on the photographer hat and took these beautiful shots (more photos on my Instagram page).

I had also the chance to pass by L’Institute Du Monde Arabe bookshop and Gibert Joseph bookstore, and was happy to see them selling the book.

Madian Al Jazerah memoir is a tale of hope in a world of colliding identities. A must read!


Are you this? or are you this?: a story of identity and worth.

When Madian’s agent Lara from Hurst Publishers approached me in early April to provide a book blurb for this superb memoir of Madian, I felt honored. I knew Madian for a long time, and I consider him a good dear friend. I have always respected him and looked up to him for what he did for the gay community in Amman. To be chosen as one of the few people to provide a book blurb for his book meant a lot to me.

I was intrigued to know more about this great man and expected a good read, but once I started reading, I could’t stop. It was a draft version of the book that I read on my phone screen, and it hooked me till I finished it. It wasn’t only a good read but a great one.

Few days later I emailed Lara the blurb, which she thankfully edited to appear at the back cover of the book as:

This is the story of a great man, full of emotions, pride, dignity and determination. A tale of hope in a world of colliding identities; a must-read!’

Fadi Zaghmout, blogger and author of ‘The Bride of Amman’
Back cover of the book

These two lines of-course don’t do it justice, as it is much more than that. Madian takes us on an emotional journey of a man who is as delicate as a flower and as strong as a rock. A man who grew up in a world of colliding identities, carrying them over his shoulders, molding them into a beautiful mix, and riding them to turn every ugly incident he faces in his life into a colorful ray of light. Madian grew up as a Palestinian in Kuwait, a moderate Muslim in world that have seen Islam drift into extremism, and a gay man in a homophobic surrounding.

The combination of these three identity pillars might not be an exclusive identity to this man, but the way he handled it and lived it, is what makes his story gripping. There is an undeniable tone of pride in Madian’s words. He is a man of integrity and love, and his human side shows in every decision he takes along his life journey.

What makes this read enjoyable is that it is honest and intimate. Madian doesn’t shy from telling personal stories related to him, his family and his close friends. He talks about his life in Kuwait, and what meant for him to grow up in a country that he doesn’t hold its citizenship. How the security of his childhood home gets shattered when Iraq invades Kuwait, forcing him and his family to move to a different country. How he ends up living in a country where he holds its citizenship yet it is not the country of his origins. How he faced his own fears and came to terms with his sexuality. And how he navigated all this misfortune by holding onto the anchor of the loving family he has.

He might not have always made the best decisions, and at times, he let fear guide him, but he has also shown much talent, and it is here where we can see his utmost pride. Most of us know him from the haven he created in Amman – Books@cafe. The first internet cafe in the region that grew to be a hub for tolerance and acceptance. A place that shaped Amman in the past 20 years and empowered many of us to stand up and fight the exclusionary culture that tainted our lives.

Are you this? Or are you this?” might be the active expression his mother used when she asked him about his sexual preference. A reflection of how mainstream thinking in Jordan and around the world used to define what is an acceptable sexual behavior and what is not. But the title is more than that, and the story is more than that. It is the story of all of us, of how we tend to categories and place people into neat boxes to complete and perfect our views of the world around us. We feel comfort with simple stories, black and white ones that either accept people or reject them. We tend to ignore the complexity of the human condition and focus on one simple characteristic – are you this? or are you this?

The world is full of choices, and the nature of things are seldom binary. If you are to choose today, I’d advise you to choose to read this book. It is an emotional enjoyable read and there is much to learn from Madian and his life.

I wanted to be one of the first to review this book. Hope you enjoyed reading it.

The book is out for orders. You can order your copy now from publisher’s website directly by clicking here.

A new review and 5 stars for LAILA!


Happy to receive this new review for Laila today on goodreads by Lana Swaiss.

A review for LAILA on Goodreads

Another provocative book by Fadi!


After reading ‘Bride of Amman‘ as a citizen of Amman myself, I remember reading the book from the eyes of the different characters. Each character is so real and depicts true struggles people face in Jordan everyday behind closed doors. It made me connect to a book in a way I never had. The same applies to Laila. Without giving too much away, Laila is the main character, a strong woman who has found strength and courage to be true to her sexual desires, her strength as a provider for her family and fought the gender stereotypes within her home. This character resonated with me deeply, because I know there are so many Laila’s in Jordan that are just as hidden as she is. As an avid reader, I read a lot of books, and reading about sexual fantasies or dominant women in the bedroom is quite common in many English books. But to read about an Arab woman is quite different, because this issue, like many others, is taboo in this country. Fadi so openly talks through Laila about what it is like to be a strong woman in Jordan, what it is like to be a scared yet masculine man like Tariq, and what gender roles look like in a Jordanian family.

 As an avid reader, I read a lot of books, and reading about sexual fantasies or dominant women in the bedroom is quite common in many English books. But to read about an Arab woman is quite different, because this issue, like many others, is taboo in this country. 


I am proud to be a somewhat far relative of Fadi’s, and I remember when members of our family read the book (Jordanian family members), they warned me about the explicit language and uncomfortable events that take place throughout the book. I didn’t find them uncomfortable or strange. Instead, I found this book liberating, and it is very naive to think that the events within the pages of this book are uncommon, strange or unheard of.

 I found this book liberating, and it is very naive to think that the events within the pages of this book are uncommon, strange or unheard of.


I would highly recommend this read, if not for women to find strength within themselves, but for men and women to redefine what masculinity means, and that dominance is by no means a measure of masculinity or superiority, whether in or out of the bedroom.

L’Epouse d’Amman is out in French!


Originally released in Arabic in 2012, “Arous Amman عروس عمّان“، was deemed controversial for it depiction of a main gay character and support of women’s sexual freedoms and body rights in Jordan. For me, it was a work of activism where I combined stories of people I know, events I witnessed, scenes I developed, and narratives I have discussed for years on this blog.

Best Seller Virgin Megastore Amman 2015

I was pretty much happy about its success, and overwhelmed with people’s reactions. From women calling me and thanking me for expressing their feelings, women who felt empowered after reading it, other women who endured same situation of different characters and gay men thanking me for helping them accepting their sexuality. It was like talking about the elephant in the room, everyone wanted to talk about “Arous Amman“, and they wanted others to read it. It was our story and it spread fast, getting sold out in few months, a second print release in October by Jabal Amman Publishers, and hitting the top 10 best sellers of Jamalon’s that year.

The book’s success wasn’t only local, and soon after, Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp was in a trip to Amman where she picked it up and loved it. She contacted me, asking me for permission to translate and excerpt to submit to Words Without Borders Magazine, which she did. I was happy with her translation and recommended her when I talked to Marshall Moore from Signal8Press who was interested in getting the book translated and published in English.

Gays the world bookshop London

The English translation of “The Bride of Amman” was released in 2015, and Ruth arranged for me a great launch schedule in the UK. She did a great job in marketing the book when it first came out, and contributed to its exposure and success big time. The book seen success in English as much as it did in its Arabic version, getting a wider audience and being added to the reading list of students in different universities around the world.

Like Ruth, Davide Knecht, read the book few years back and he approached me stating his interest in translating it to Italian. At the time he couldn’t secure an Italian publisher, but he was able to secure a French one – L’asiatheque. I was happy to sign with them, and after two years of work, the book is finally out in French as L’Epouse d’Amman. And like Ruth, Dave has been doing a great job in promoting the book. The publisher as well did a great job in getting the book out in an amazing shape, securing the rights for the a brilliant mural painted by the famous German artist Akut. A huge mural located in Downtown Amman, with a message to promote gender equality. Entitled “We are one“, a perfect match to L’Epouse d’Amman.

We are one mural – downtown Amman
Copies of L’Epouse d’Amman

Davide connected me with an Italian publisher too who was interested in the book last year but plans were put on hold due to Covid-19 situation. Other translators have approached me over the years to translate the book to German and Spanish, but nothing came out of it yet. I hope the release of the book in French would open the doors to other translations in the coming years.

The book has its way to success, and seems to have a magical appeal around it. I am so grateful for everyone contributed to its success.

Thank you.

رواية إبرة وكشتبان في قوائم الأكثر مبيعاً في مكتبات عمّان



شكرا لدعمكم وحبكم، ويسرّني أن أشارك معكم الخبر السار عن وصول رواية إبرة وكشتبان لقائمة أكثر الكتب مبيعاً في مكتبة فيرجن ومكتبة ريدرز في عمّان. كنت قد نشرت الرواية بداية كنشر ذاتي وطباعة حسب الطلب من خلال موقع جملون، ثم وقعت عقد نشر وتوزيع مع دار الأهلية للنشر. الكتاب متوفر اليوم للطلب أونلاين من خلال موقع جملون، أو القراءة ككتاب الكتروني من خلال تطبيق أبجد أو كندل أو رفوف. كذلك متوفر في مكتبات عمان كنسخة مطبوعة.
قائمة أكثر الكتب مبيعاً في مكتبة فيرجن في سيتي مول في عمّان
إبرة وكشتبان في مدخل مكتبة فيرجن في عمّان

Writers and blank pages


It is true what they say about writers and blank pages. As I wanted to start writing my next book yesterday, I sat in a cafe and opened the laptop, opened a new document on pages, and had a full blank page staring at me.


30 minutes later it was still blank. Thoughts racing in my head, how to start? where to start? the scene, the line?


60 minutes later it was still blank. Thoughts wrestling in my head. Which to eliminate? Which to keep? what sounds promising? anything exciting to start with?


90 minutes later it was still bank. I started to worry. Am I unable to start a new book? or the idea of the new book is all wrong? it is an ambitious project that I won’t be able to complete? Did I lose my magic?


At that point I had an idea to explore. Wrote first line, then deleted it. Rephrase. Rephrase again, and again. Don’t be too critical I tell myself, I continue, finishing a paragraph. The idea becomes clearer, it branches into other ideas, putting it into words, shaping it up, the character has a voice.


120 minutes later I had 3 paragraphs written. I am pleased about the beginning and the direction I will take in the book. I stop writing and feel excited about the next session.

Photo Credit: ASHLEY EDWARDS

مشاركتي في مؤتمر نقاط للعقل المطاطي وكلمتي عن التقسيم المبني على النوع الاجتماعي


سعدت بالمشاركة في مؤتمر نقاط للعقل المطاطي الذي عقد في دولة الكويت في شهر نوفمبر الماضي حيث تعرّفت على العديد من الأشخاص الملهمين الذين تحدّثوا في مواضيع ابداعية مختلفة شيقة. يمكنكم الآن مشاهدة كافة الحوارات على قناة نقاط على اليوتيوب.

خلال مشاركتي قدّمت كلمة عن الرواية التّي أعمل عليها والتي تحاول أن تتخيّل عالماً يكون فيه تفسيم النوع الاجتماعي الأساسي مبني على الطول لا الجنس. شرحت فكرة العالم واسقاطاتها على واقعنا وكيف أنّ هذه الفكرة أتتني بعد سنوات طويلة من العمل في مجال الحريات الجنسية والحقوق الجسدية ومحاولة توضيح ما يعنيه النوع الاجتماعي (الجندر) والفرق بين الجندر كصفة اجتماعية والجنس كصفة بيولوجية. أترك لكم هنا الكلمة كاملة لمشاهدتها ويسعدني تلقي تعليقاتكم وأسئلتكم.

كذلك خلال المؤتمر شاركت في ندوة حوارية حول القيود والأعراف الاجتماعية وأثرها على حرية الفرد، يمكنكم مشاهدتها كاملة هنا:

Reading The Bride of Amman while floating in Dead Sea


This is probably one of the coolest photos I have ever seen for someone reading The Bride of Amman. Thank you Ferran for tweeting this!

WOMEN CROSSING BORDERS: SHEREEN ABOUELNAGA, HUZAMA HABAYEB & FADI ZAGHMOUT


Saturday 2 March, 6pm-7pm

Al Ras 1, InterContinental, DFC

Authors: Fadi ZaghmoutHuzama HabayebShereen Abouelnaga

Don’t miss this session at Emirates Literature Festival. I look forward to seeing you all there and look forward to a wonderful discussion with these amazing and inspiring ladies.

What is the nature of boundaries that women in novels have to contend with? How do these boundaries reflect the real world? Who sets boundaries? And is there a big difference between boundaries facing men and women? What is the difference between boundaries imposed on men and those imposed on women in the contemporary narrative experiment?

Dr Shereen Abouelnaga is an Egyptian author, literary critic and professor at Cairo University – Egypt.

Huzama Habayeb is a Palestinian novelist and winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature 2017 for her novel “Velvet”. 

Fadi Zaghmout is a Jordanian author who started writing in 2006, motivated by desire to achieve social justice and challenge narrow gender roles.

Language: Arabic with English translation

Book your ticket now!

“Heaven on Earth” Book Launch Event


My second book “Janna Ala Al Ard” (Heaven on Earth), is finally out in English after three years of its original release in Arabic by Dar Al Adab in November 2014. Translated By the brilliant Sawad Hussain and published by Signal8Press (same publisher of “The Bride of Amman”).

On Saturday 25th November, we had the launch event of the book at Literaturhaus at Nadi on 25 November, 4PM, in Nadi Al Quoz (Al Serkal Avenue). My close friend Hani Yakan (whom I admire and appreciate a lot) moderated the session, and gave a great introduction for me and for the book. He has planned good questions around the theme of the book which triggered a very thoughtful and interesting discussion (Thank you Hani).

During the event, we talked about the writing process and the jump in genre from my previous feminist novel into a science fiction novel. We discussed the themes presented in the book from the current scientific trend of considering ageing to be a disease, and the promise of new technologies and research to bring defeat ageing and grant us a longer and healthier life span. We discussed the effect of the golden pill (full of nanobots to clean cellular damage and keep our cells healthy and young) on our social systems and how longer lifespans would affect our life styles and moral codes.

It was a really nice and engaging discussion, talking about the future at a time many experts deems to be the cusp of exponential development unprecedented in human history.

Writing the book helped me explore the concept of happiness; what is heaven and what is hell? Releasing a new book and having an audience to discuss it with, is certainly a line from heaven… on earth..

You can order your copy now from Jamalon.com.

Here are some photos from the event:

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