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.

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

7 years passed, still a best seller – Aroos Amman (The Bride of Amman)


Yesterday, an old time friend of mine, took a photo for “Aroos Amman” (The Bride of Amman” that shows the book in the best selling section of DNA Lifestyle Store in Al Abdali Mall.

I was happy to receive the photo and rushed to share it on all of my social media channels. The fact that “Aroos Amman” keeps on appearing in best selling lists after 7 years of its release, speaks volume. This is not the first time or place for it to be a best seller, in fact it was one of the top best selling books on Jamalon in 2012, the year it got released. It continuously appears in the best selling books section in the famous Jordanian bookstore “Reader”. It has been a best seller and a “recommended to read” at Virgin megastore for months. The audio version, made it to the most listened books list on storytel and the ebook is part of Abjjad’s all time most read books!

In Virgin Megastore Amman

The book been translated and published to English in 2015, and currently is getting translated into the French language, planned to be released next year.

Jamalon best selling list 2012

It has opened so many door to me, including securing an MA scholarship from the British Council to study in the UK in 2012. Invitation to different conferences and events in global cities from London, to Berlin, Salzburg and Pune

I have always wondered about the reason behind the success of this book. Why it ticks with so many people? It was my first to write, even before doing my MA in Creative Writing and Critical Thinking. It wasn’t perfectly crafted, and critics would point out the simplicity of its language or the shortages of the plot. Yet, it keeps generating strong reactions that surprises me till today, not just from my fellow Jordanians whom I mainly address in the book, but also from Arabs and foreigners from different countries.

For me it was a work of activism and I am more than happy to see it reach such heights. I wanted the voices of my characters to be heard, and they got heard. I wanted to give our youth hope, and for many I did. I remember a gay guy once told me that he keeps the book with him all the time, and place it next to his best when he goes to sleep as he feels protected by having it close by. That’s something I am so proud to hear. I remember a young woman once sending me a long letter stating how empowered she feels after reading the book and promising to stand up for her self and her rights. That’s also something I am so proud of. Even yesterday, after posting the photo of the book in the best selling list, I received a message from a guy who said it is his favorite book ever and that he remembers how he skipped his university classes and stayed home super excited to read it.

رواية عروس عمان بين الكتب الأكثر مبيعا في مكتبة ريدرز
Readers Bookshop

I don’t know what the magic in “Aroos Amman”. Maybe it has to do with giving a voice to a gay man that hasn’t been heard of in our society before, or hearing a Jordanian woman standing up to her body rights and sexuality, or maybe its magnifying our issues of gender and heavy social heritage, and showing how they have been affecting our lives negatively. I always say, I wrote it from my heart, and maybe that’s what made it tick. And I guess, thats what others see in it, like what a friend commented yesterday on the Instagram image, stating that it is successful because it is “honest” and “different”.

Thank you for all of the honest and different people who supported me and supported this book into such success. Hopefully we will seeing it reaching more people and maybe soon we will watch it as a movies on the big screens.. fingers crossed!

London launch for The Bride of Amman