Reading, reception to feature Diana Abu-Jaber '80

Award-winning author Diana Abu-Jaber, who graduated from SUNY Oswego in 1980, will be featured at a reading and reception to launch her newest book, “The Language of Baklava: A Memoir,” Tuesday, March 15, at Borders Books and Music in Syracuse’s Carousel Mall.

Abu-Jaber will read from “The Language of Baklava” at 7 p.m. in the second-floor cafe in Borders and a reception will follow the reading.

Abu-Jaber is the acclaimed author of the novels “Crescent,” called “radiant, wise, and passionate” by the Chicago Tribune, and “Arabian Jazz.” Her newest book is a vibrant, humorous memoir of growing up with a gregarious Jordanian father who loved to cook.

The author weaves the story of her life in upstate New York and in Jordan around vividly remembered meals: everything from Lake Ontario shish kabob cookouts with her Arab-American cousins to goat stew feasts under a Bedouin tent in the desert. These sensuously evoked meals in turn illuminate the two cultures of Abu-Jaber’s childhood—American and Jordanian—and the richness and difficulty of straddling both.

“My father’s brothers are doctors and scholars and politicians,” she told BookBrowse. “And it was determined that I would receive my undergraduate degree from SUNY Oswego because one of my uncles taught there and could keep an eye on me while I lived in a dormitory.” Her uncle, Dr. Faiz Abu-Jaber, taught political science and Middle Eastern studies at SUNY Oswego.

Those wishing to attend Tuesday’s event should RSVP to or call 315.312.2258 by Monday, March 14.

(Posted: Mar 09, 2005)