Archive for the ‘Seattle’ Category

Where Jasmine Blooms: a novel by Holly S. Warah

December 30th, 2016 8 comments

WHERE JASMINE BLOOMS: a novel by Holly S. Warah

At last! After many years of writing, revising, and querying, my novel Where Jasmine Blooms will reach its readers. My debut novel is scheduled to be published by Skyhorse Publishing in April, 2017.


To the Mansours, an Arab American family living in Seattle, love knows no borders. But despite our best efforts, sometimes love—and family—are foreign to us . . .

American-born Margaret Mansour wants nothing more than to rekindle the struggling twenty-year marriage to her Palestinian husband, Ahmed—but not if it means uprooting their home and children in America and moving halfway across the world.

Young and ambitious Alison Mansour has a degree in Near East Studies, but her American education and Syrian background are of no use when her new marriage begins to crumble under the weight of cultural and religious differences. The communication between Alison and her husband is already shaky; how will they cope with the arrival of their first child?

Zainab Mansour, the matriarch of her family, never expected to live in America, but after the death of her husband she finds herself lost in a faithless country and lonely within the walls of her eldest son’s home. She wants what’s best for her children but struggles to find her place in a new landscape.

Emerging from the interwoven perspectives of these three women comes a story of love and longing, culture and compromise, home and homeland. Exploring the complex political backdrop of the Middle East from a personal perspective, Where Jasmine Blooms travels from the suburbs of Seattle to the villas of Jordan and the refugee camps of the West Bank, on an emotional journey exploring what it means to be a family.

Where Jasmine Blooms

A Novel by Holly S. Warah

$24.99 / Hardcover / April 2017

304 pages / 6 x 9 / ISBN 978-1-62872-749-4



Holly S. Warah has traveled widely throughout the Arab world. She has lived in the region for seventeen years and been married into an Arab family for twenty-eight years. Her short fiction has won a national award, first place in The Writer magazine’s 2011 Short Story Contest, as well as several regional awards, including first place in the 2010 Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) Literary Contest and first place in the 2011 Southwest Writers Writing Contest. Holly has a master’s degree in teaching English as a second language and has taught for more than ten years in Seattle and Dubai, where she now lives.


“Steeped in the smells, flavors and customs of the Palestinian culture, Warah gives us a family quietly roiling under modern and time-worn conflicts. We watch as they, sometimes quietly and sometimes with riveting raucous, struggle to reconcile disparate cultures, harrowing politics and the place for individualism. The matriarch carries her anxieties like rattling chains, the western daughter-in-law waffles on whether her mixed marriage home is stifling or supportive, and a newer mixed marriage teeters even as it produces a child. This keenly told story of an immigrant family straddling two continents is a worthy read as we plod through a world grappling with pluralism.”

– Nadia Hashimi, internationally bestselling author of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell


 You can preorder your copy today from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or from your favorite independent bookstore.

Thank you,


King Tut in Seattle

August 7th, 2012 2 comments

Last month I visited the King Tut exhibit at the Seattle Center. As soon as I arrived in Seattle, I noticed the billboard signs: “King Tut: On Display for the last time in North America.”

Every time the topic came up, friends and family told me I had to see it (even though none of them had seen it). So, on our last weekend in Seattle, with one reluctant husband and one resistant eleven-year-old boy, we trekked over.

The display features more than 100 objects from King Tut’s tomb and other ancient sites, twice as many as when the exhibit toured in the 1970s (and I remember clearly that missed that one.) Never mind that I already live in the Middle East. Never mind that I’ve already seen it at the Egyptian museum in Cairo. I had to see King Tut in Seattle!

At the Seattle Center, the lines were long and the tickets expensive ($32 for adults & $21 for the kid). But I held firm.

Once we got inside, the quiet mood and low lights made for a relaxing atmosphere. I was thankful I had invested $6 in an audio guide for my son, who became suddenly interested in listening to the commentary on his headset.

The exhibit started with other kings and queens of Egypt and worked its way up. Let me start with a few women of the Pharaoh’s Household. Below is Pincess Shepenwepet, a high priestess.

Here is Queen Hatshepsut (below). She was a rare female pharaoh. If she looks like a man, it’s because she’s wearing the royal kilt and headdress worn by male pharaohs. In this granite statue, she is shown making an offering to the gods.

Below is a scene from domestic life: a child princess and her caregiver.

Next is something that my son got very exited about–a cat sarcophagus!

Here is a closer view of the low-relief sculpture on the side. The cat in this sarcophagus belonged to a high priest.

Moving on to other kings of Egypt, here is King Kafre (below) sitting on his throne.

 This sculpure (below) is Priest Kai with his son and daughter peeking out by his feet.

And for my absolute favorite: Amenhotep IV. I remember him from university Art History class, as well as the Cairo Museum. I love his face.

Just look at that face! Those lips! Can you imagine someone sculpting them 3,000 years ago?

At last we came to King Tutankhamum, starting with this colossal statue–one of a pair (the other is at the University of Chicago). King Tut was only about 19 years old when he died without an heir. According to this statue, he was a handsome young man.

For almost 3,000 years, the tomb of Tutankhamun lay secret. In 1922 British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the lost tomb of King Tutankhamun. After several long expeditions over a period of years, he finally succeeded. Then it took more than ten years for Carter to photograph, record and conserve the 5,000 objects found in the tomb. The exhibit featured many of those artifacts, such as this gilded wood statue of King Tut. The phase “Boy King” comes to mind here.

 At last, the grand finale: the treasures in gold. In the final dimly lit room (with extra security guards), we gazed at the gold artifacts, such as this gold bust.

This winged cobra (below) forms a gold collar, which was found on the mummy of  young King Tut. The cobra was a symbol of power for the pharaohs and is seen in headresses, jewelry and other artifacts.

Here is another necklace, this one believed to hold powers that could protect against evil. The piece contains many “magical elements,” including the three gold disks, which signify the sun and moon.

 And finally, here is my favorite golden artifact from the Gold Room: King Tutenkhamum’s golden sandals!

The final object of the exhibit was a reproduction of King Tut’s remains, which captivated my son.

For history and archaeology buffs and for those who want to experience something different, I uge you to check out this exhibit. You have to see it.

 TUTANKHAMEN: The Gold King and the Great Pharaohs

Showing at the Pacific Science Center, Seattle Center

Until January 6th, 2013. Open Daily 9:45 – 6:00pm

For prices and more info, see Pacific Science Center website

Question: Have you seen King Tut in Seattle or Cairo or anywhere? 

Seattle Arab Festival

October 9th, 2011 4 comments

The Seattle Arab Festival is happening this weekend at the Seattle Center.  Sadly, I can’t be there. However, here are some photos from the last time.

dabke dancing

Booths representing various Arab countries

Palestine Booth

Palestinian Pottery

Arabic Food Stalls


This year’s event runs October 8-9, 2011 and is put on by the Arab Center of Washington.

Have you attended this festival or a similar event in your community?