The Writer’s Center presents a FREE virtual chat about the craft of nonfiction! We’re joined by Sufiya Abdur-Rahman to discuss her award-winning memoir, Heir to the Crescent Moon. Sufiya is in conversation with Zach Powers, author and Director of Communications at The Writer’s Center.
RSVP below to receive login information (our virtual events are held via Zoom). FREE and open to the public, all times Eastern.
We encourage you to order a copy of the book from your local, independent bookseller or online directly from the publisher.
Sufiya Abdur-Rahman is author of the forthcoming memoir Heir to the Crescent Moon, winner of the Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction. Her writing investigates questions of family, identity, race, and religion and, often, how they intersect. Her essays, articles, and criticism have appeared in publications including Catapult, The Common Online, Gay Mag, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and NPR. She has earned Notable distinction in Best American Essays, received fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and is a two-time alumnus of VONA writing workshops. She is Creative Nonfiction Editor for Cherry Tree, a national literary journal, at Washington College, where she teaches creative writing and journalism. She lives in Annapolis, Md., with her family.
About the Book
From age five, Sufiya Abdur-Rahman, the daughter of two Black Power–era converts to Islam, feels drawn to the faith even as her father, a devoted Muslim, introduces her to and, at the same time, distances her from it. Abdur-Rahman’s father and mother abandoned their Harlem mosque before she was born and divorced when she was twelve. Forced apart from her father—her portal into Islam—she yearns to reconnect with the religion and, through it, reconnect with him.
In Heir to the Crescent Moon, Abdur-Rahman’s longing to comprehend her father’s complicated relationship with Islam leads her first to recount her own history, and then delves into her father’s past. She journeys from the Christian righteousness of Adam Clayton Powell Jr.’s 1950s Harlem, through the Malcolm X–inspired college activism of the late 1960s, to the unfulfilled potential of the early 1970s Black American Muslim movement. Told at times with lighthearted humor or heartbreaking candor, Abdur-Rahman’s story of adolescent Arabic lessons, fasting, and Muslim mosque, funeral, and Eid services speaks to the challenges of bridging generational and cultural divides and what it takes to maintain family amidst personal and societal upheaval. She weaves a vital tale about a family: Black, Muslim, and distinctly American.