My visit to the University of Alabama


I wanted to write about this earlier but didn’t have the chance. I came back from the US last Wednesday. It was an amazing trip and I had a great time visiting the University of Alabama. It wouldn’t have happened without Cheryl Toman, Professor of French and Chair, Modern Languages and Classics. She is such a sweet heart and I am very thankful to her for inviting me.

In front of the library at The University of Alabama

It all started two years ago, in early 2020 when Cheryl messaged me on Facebook, telling me that she is teaching The Bride of Amman to her students at the University of Alabama in a special course about women in literature. I was thrilled to know this and she was planning to take her students on a trip to Jordan. She asked me if I will be there and meet them. Unfortunately that trip didn’t happen as we were hit with covid. But then fast forward till last summer in July 2021 when I did my book signing for the French version of the book L’Epouse D’Amman, I was surprised to see her attending the event. I was pleased to meet her in person and we had a chat during the event where she asked me if I’d be interested to visit the University and talk to her students who read the book. I said YES please! and she made it happen.

With Arabic language Students at University of Alabama

I spent 4 amazing days in Tuscaloosa. Cheryl made sure to arrange for a full schedule with students, chairs, professors and lecturers in other departments too. I was blessed to meet so many wonderful people. We started the first day with a talk to students learning Arabic. And I was happy to meet Manasar Al Harethi, lecturer of Arabic, who moved to the US from Saudi Arabia. It was followed by a lunch with Cheryl and Chair of English department, Steve Trout (such a nice guy). And in the afternoon, same day, I met Myles Williamson, a PhD students in the political science department, who is writing his dissertation about global transgender rights. I had such a nice talk with Myles over coffee and was pleased to hear his thoughts about the topic. Later on at night, I was honored to meet the Waleed Hazbun, Professor of Middle Easter Studies, who is mentoring Myles, and generously contributed to the funds that made this trip happen. We met at a nice restaurant where we had a nice dinner with him, his partner Michelle Woodward (managing editor of MERIP/Middle East Report), and his political science colleague Holger Albrecht and his partner Dina Bishara (both teach politics of the Middle East, Dina now teaches at Cornell). I was happy to meet all of them.

A private talk with gender and race department students
A group photo with Utz Mcknight and Cheryl Toman and students of gender and race

I have to admit that the second day at the University was my favorite one. It was the day dedicated to the students of Gender and Race department. I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoyed talking to everyone in this department. Chair of department, Utz Mcknight, is such a wonderful and warm man. He makes everyone comfortable and at ease, and I could see his love and passion towards gender and race and how he embraces his students and empower them. I enjoyed in particular the first session he planned for us, a private talk with the students of the department at the Anderson room. We spent around two hours and had a wonderful and open discussion about gender and race and me and my writings. It was followed by a public talk in LIoyed Hall, which I wasn’t prepared for, but he thankfully tipped me on how to handle it. He said, “use this space the way you like. You can ask the audience for help if you want”. And this is what I did. As I am working on the sequel for Heaven on Earth, my narrator and protagonist is genderless. And since the sequel is set after 100 years from now, I asked the audience about how they see the future of gender. We ended up having a wonderful discussion about the future, all of the recent advances in technology and their potential effect on us. And I got many good insights to help me progress with the book.

Dinner at FIVE restaurant with students from gender and race department.

The day ended with a nice dinner and informal talk with the students of the department where Utz made sure I mingle with all of them. He was monitor the time and my location, and every few minutes, he kept on reminding that I need to switch table. Thanks to him, it was a memorable night.

I don’t want to forget to mention that Cheryl didn’t forget to hook me up with other professors during the lunches and I was honored to meet Alicia Cipria, Spanish Professor and Allesandra Montalbano, Italian professor in second day. And also Gina Stamm and Jennifer Car, French Professors, in third day. Amazing women, all of them.

We were looking forward to the last day as it was the day dedicated to Cheryl’s students who actually read the book. Cheryl planned two sessions, one for the students who read the book in English and the other one for those who read it in French. Unfortunately, the French class didn’t happen as we had a tornado warning. The University had to close early and everyone was advised to go and stay home that evening. Nevertheless, it was a great session with those students who read the book in English. I was so pleased to hear their feedback and answer their questions. Such smart students, full of curiosity and passion. I was happy to hear from them about their insights on women and gender from their own surroundings. We forgot to take photos from this session but you can find more photos of my US trip on my Instagram account.

It was an unforgettable visit. I had a great time and loved everyone I met. Despite the mainstream thinking of Alabama as a conservative state, the University is such a progressive heaven. I loved every moment of my stay there.

Janna Ala Al Ard is getting an Italian translation by Future Fiction


I am happy to share this good news by the end of this year. I just signed an agreement with Italian SF publisher Future Fiction for the rights to translate and publish Janna Al Ard (Heaven on Earth) from Arabic into the Italian language.

On their website, Future Fiction writes:

We give voice to stories from the future, inclusive narratives from over 30 countries and 10 different languages, which explore the ambiguous relationship between human beings and technology, the transformations of personal identity and social organization, the encounter between humanity and the scarcity or abundance of resources: visions that peer into every possible future.

I admire what Francesco Verso, co-founder of Future Fiction, has been doing in bringing voices of the future from all over the world together, and I feel more than proud to be one for these voices.

Future Fiction is a home for many of us who try to imagine the future.

Janna will be my second book to come out in Italian, after Arous Amman (The Bride of Amman) which is planned for Jan 2022 release by MReditori.

Janna was first released in Arabic by Dar Al Adab in 2014, translated to English by Sawad Hussain and published by Signal 8 Press in 2018. 

About Heaven on Earth:

The year: sometime in the 2090s. The location: Jordan. Aging is reversible thanks to major advances in bioscience and nanotechnology. But in a world where eternal youth has become a reality, complications arise. Journalist Janna Abdallah is at the forefront of these changes: her brother Jamal contributed to many of the medical advances that have brought such profound changes to humanity over the past few decades, yet he has chosen to forego age suppression in order to experience a natural death. Because reproduction is strictly regulated, the opportunity to create new life throws the Abdallah family into turmoil. Fadi Zaghmout’s best-selling debut novel The Bride of Amman was groundbreaking for its intimate, sympathetic treatment of women’s issues, homosexuality, and marriage in the Middle East. Heaven on Earth is no less revolutionary, at once a searingly personal account of one family’s struggle to embrace the future that is now, and also a look at the way Jordanian society has had to reimagine itself at the end of the twenty-first century.

More on Future Fiction:

Future Fiction is a cultural association of social promotion founded by Francesco Verso and Francesco Mantovani. Our project aims to disseminate and promote an interdisciplinary approach to the idea of ​​the future, using science fiction and speculation as bridges between today and tomorrow: a multicultural and transmedia laboratory of narratives that explore the ambiguous and symbiotic relationship between man and technology.

With the ambition of mapping the other “tomorrows” declined by every culture and tradition, Future Fiction organizes and participates in seminars, workshops, conferences, and congresses in Italy and around the world on highly topical issues related to innovation, anticipation, and speculation, thus contributing to the debate with articles, essays, novels, and anthologies, both printed and digital.

After more than 160 digital publications and 50 paper books, the project has become an excellent aggregator of content and a place of discovery for anyone who sees tomorrow, not only dismal dystopias and unlikely apocalypses but also an analysis and entertainment tool to find orientation. , among the incredible transformations that are increasingly impacting humanity at all levels, from the technological to the biopolitical, social, economic, and environmental.

Why we age and why we don’t have to? an army of researchers are on it!


Almost done reading Lifespan: Why we age and why we don’t have to by David Sinclair and I am pleased with what I read. This post may contain spoilers.

David Sinclair


At first glance one would look at the book cover and say it is a tall order. Not knowing who is David Sinclair, one would assume that this best selling book is another hocus self-help or motivational book. But once you start reading, you’d get to realize that this is the real thing. David has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and is a researcher at Harvard Medical School. He has been working on genetic researches related to aging for many years and is well aware of the scientific advancements in that regards on almost all fronts.


The book starts with a focus on biochemistry and an outline of recent medical achievements in prolonging the lives of other living things along with researches results on human beings. The first chapters are tough to read for non medical readers but it gets better in the following chapters when David outlines his recommendations for everyone on what to do to slow down aging and potentially halt/reverse it. He goes on later in the book into addressing some societal and philosophical concerns on the effects of longer human lifespans on the way we carry on and perceive our lives.


Towards the end, he goes back to his lab at Harvard medical school, mentions many of his colleagues who are working on aging researches at different fronts. Some of whom are prominent scientists and Nobel prize winners. He lists many breakthroughs that happened in recent years and highlights the fact that all the incredible achievements he mentions in this chapter have only happened in one lab, whereas there are many of other labs, researchers and scientists working on tackling this issue all over the world.


I loved that he uses the word “army” where he says that there is an army of thousands of researchers all over the world working on understanding aging and potentially expanding healthy human lifespan to levels we have never imagined before.


The question today is not about “can we defeat aging?”, it is more about “how we do it? ” and “when will it happen?”. It is like having a million pieces jigsaw puzzle with a 100K people trying to put pieces together. We will do it, and hopefully sooner than we expect.


Loving it!

A reward and punishment VR system – imagining the future Black Mirror style


The future might be both, beyond our wildest dreams, and so much familiar where it manifests many of our beliefs and traditions. With the exponential advancement of AI and technology, it would be near impossible to predict what is coming our way.


But understanding the power of human beliefs and imaginations and how persistent it can be, and coupling that with the powers of our future technologies of AI, VR and censoring, let’s imagine the following scenario:


For those who still believe in heaven and in hell, who believe in reward and punishment in a world where aging does no longer exist and death is far more rare. You don’t have to worry!


I have a solution.


We can run a mini experiment and create the world you think is fair and true. To assist the angels on your left and right shoulders, we will create artificial invisible angels, planted on your shoulders to log whatever action you do. They will be ran by an advance AI that can asses every single action, collect data from your body and brain activities, and determine if the action should be logged in your deeds or sins records.


This can start any moment, from the day of your birth, or the day you subscribe to our service. It will also have a time limit. We recommend 100 years. After which, your judgement day will arrive. But don’t worry, we can do it in groups, or patches, so it can feel real, with a real judgment day for all. And we can keep the date a secret that no one knows.


On your judgment day, the AI will measure your balance and how it tips. It will determine if you have been a good person or a bad one. And accordingly, it will channel you to one of our afterlife chambers; the VR chamber of Hell or the VR chamber of Heaven.


In Heaven, you will be seated comfortably in a perfect room and you will delve into an experience of joy that you have never thought of. Your body will be monitored all the time to ensure your safety. Your mind will be constantly induced with happy hormones. And your imagination will be living the Heaven you always dreamt of and longed for. You will not feel time, because there is not time in Heaven.


In Hell, we will burn you “virtually” to atone your sins. You will be tortured to the highest levels your body can endure. We will repeat that constantly, every time till you lose your consciousness, and reset once you wake up again. All in a safe environment, with your body tightened into a comfortable chair and sensors that can guarantee you would never die.
Who is up for this? Add your name in the comments!


– This can either be a Black Mirror episode or a blue print for a sequel for my Heaven on Earth

“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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6 blurbs from distinguished figures for Heaven on Earth


My 2nd book Heaven on Earth is finally out in English and I am very thankful for the endorsement of these distinguished people, two of whom are leading the global efforts in combating ageing: Aubrey de Grey and Ira S. Pastor.

1. Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer, SENS Research Foundation

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2. Ira S. Pastor, CEO BioQuark Inc., Rejuvenation Biotechnology Company

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3. Lara Matossian, founder and CEO of Sci Fest Dubai

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4. Zaid Bawab, Jordanian filmmaker, part-time lecturer, and music curator

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5. Batir Wardam, Jordanian writer and social-media activist

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6. Fadi G. Haddad, Jordanian film director and writer

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Author’s note – Heaven on Earth Book


In 2010, while I was visiting Chicago, a friend of mine asked me to get him that month’s copy of GQ magazine. I remember flipping through the copy in my hotel room, reading the headlines, when I noticed an article with a title that said human beings may soon be able to live up to 1000 years and beyond. It was an interview with Aubrey de Grey, the famous English gerontologist who came up with a roadmap for how to defeat aging. The possibility hit me hard, as dying from old age has always been a given, something that is impossible to change. It gave me hope. Thus believing Aubrey’s words, I started to imagine: What will life be like when this happens? How will it affect our lives, our morals, and our society? Would be really like heaven when we push death away from us?

What will life be like when this happens? How will it affect our lives, our morals, and our society? Would be really like heaven when we push death away from us?

A few years later, I finished the story, and it was published in Arabic by Dar Al Adab. And I moved to Dubai, where one day Aubrey de Grey was hosted for a talk at Cafe Scientifique in the city. It was like a dream for me to meet the man who promising us a longer life. There was no way I would have missed that event. I went there and met him and told him how he inspired me to write the book. I emailed him few months later when the English translation was ready and asked him if he would be interested in writing me a book blurb, and he did.

It was like a dream for me to meet the man who promising us a longer life.

I would like to dedicate this book to him, to thank him for his efforts towards saving humanity from the horrors of old age.

I would also like to dedicate this book to my parents, stating my ultimate dream, my grand wish to see both of them getting back their youth when this technology is materialized.

And a special dedication to everyone in my life, my family members and close friends. I want you all to stay here with me for a long long time. Love you all.

I want you all to stay here with me for a long long time.

I may not have painted in this book the heaven we dream of, but I hope that the premise of a longer life may give some happiness to all of those who love living and who enjoy their lives here on this planet.

Kindle version of the book is available now on Amazon. Download it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075WGF87H/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506305353

eBook is available also on Smashwords for $8.99. Download it here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/749722