Two Truths and a Lie: Writing Autobiographical Fiction Part II

First published on Poets & Writers online, September 2, 2013 Go to Part I One of the drawbacks of writing autobiographical fiction is that the people in your head are not imaginary. They’re real. They’re the people you love the most and are most afraid of losing. In the workshop Two Truths and a Lie: Writing […]

Two Truths and a Lie: Writing Autobiographical Fiction Part I

First Posted on Poets & Writers on August 26, 2013. Go to Part II The first question people always ask me about my novel Corona is if it’s true. Yes, like me the character is a Pakistani who grew up in Corona, Queens, worked as a Puritan in a living history museum, and hitchhiked up and down […]

Bushra Rehman on a Book and a Baby

First Posted in Poets & Writers online on August 9, 2013. “I just gave birth to a book and a baby. It turns out that in the time it took from the acceptance of my manuscript to the moment of its publication, I could create a small human being in my body. I’d never thought […]

The Assembly

Queens, NY 1984 Nothing in P.S. 19 was ever heated enough. The auditorium, the cafeteria, the large windows with their pull-down plastic vinyl drapes rattled in another winter storm. Ms. Cooperman, our teacher, frowned as she saw us shiver. “Bring your coats,” she said. “We’re having an assembly.” It had snowed heavily the day before, […]

Secret Survivor: An Interview with Amita Swadhin

On the morning of July 16, 2012, I received a letter from Amita Swadhin, an activist and educator who is at the forefront of the movement to end Child Sexual Abuse. Her father Vashisht “Victor” Vaid was put on probation twenty years ago for sexually assaulting her during her childhood. Amita had just discovered Vaid […]

The Endless Baptism of Palestine

For the last few months, I’ve been working on a series of essays on Palestine. I’ve now written and erased my words until there is nothing left but the original title of the series. It could fit on a button: “Islamophobia is not the answer to Anti-Semitism.” —-Eventually, the title too had to be scratched. […]

A T-shirt, a Muslim and a Handful of Eleven-year-olds

An intense anti-Arab media campaign against the Khalil Gibran International Academy ends with a high-tech lynching.
November 12, 2007

Spotlight: Chamindika

ColorLines, Sept/Oct 2006 “The work of visual artist Chamindika is populated by characters who create the unsettling sense that they are spilling out from another world.” http://colorlines.com/archives/2006/09/spotlight_chamindika.html

They Sing the City Poetic

New York Times, April 30, 2006 City Lore and the Bowery Poetry Club got a bunch of NYC poets to write an epic poem about New York City. Of course I wrote about Corona.

My Family and Earthquake Relief in Pakistan

ColorLines, Winter 2006 “…While watching my parents. . . in action, I relearned the most important lessons of activism: the strongest, most effective form of community activism is not complicated. It comes from a sense of family, love, urgency.” Earthquake (PDF)