Zaina Arafat is a Palestinian-American writer. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Granta, The Believer, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Christian Science Monitor, BuzzFeed, VICE, and NPR, among other publications. Her debut novel, YOU EXIST TOO MUCH, is forthcoming from Catapult, and she is also at work on a collection of essays. She is the 2018 recipient of the Arab Women/Migrants from the Middle East fellowship at Jack Jones Literary Arts. She has taught writing at the University of Iowa, The School of the New York Times, Sackett Street Writers and abroad in Amman, Jordan. She has also led workshops for dreamers and DACA recipients through the Writer's Guild Initiative. In her role as the Muslim Communities Coordinator at the Asian American Writers Workshop, she curated a portfolio of prose and poetry in response to the travel ban, as well as a Q & A series with Muslim writers for the organization’s literary magazine, The Margins. She holds an M.A. in international affairs from Columbia University and an M.F.A. from Iowa. She grew up between the U.S. and the Middle East and she currently lives in Brooklyn.

Selected Publications

"Our Arab," The Believer, June/July 2018

"When Getting a College Degree Requires Self-Exile," The New York Times, Sept. 2017

"American Dystopia: An Interview With Omar El-Akkad", The Margins, Feb. 2018

“Power Jam: Roller Derby as Political Act,” Virginia Quarterly Review, Summer 2017 

“Asking Jihadists Why They Hate Us,” Vice, June 2017

“Imagining Trump’s Border Plan as a Guantánamo for ‘Illegals,’” Vice, May 2017 

“Fitzgerald Will Never Die: Review of I’d Die for You, and Other Lost Stories, Vice, April 2017 

“Refugees Want to Fall in Love, Just Like Everyone Else,” Vice, March 2017 

“This Refugee Is 3D-Printing Lost Limbs for Syrian War Survivors”, Vice, Feb 2017 

“Dear Students: A Letter From Your Muslim-American Teacher,” Vice, Nov. 2016

“Wrap Star,” BuzzFeed, Sept. 2016 

“Resist,” Iowa Review, Fall 2015  

“Persist,” Granta, Dec. 2013 

“The Problem With Being Palestinian on Thanksgiving,” BuzzFeed, Nov. 2013 

“Are the Rights of Some Citizens Worth More than those of Others?” Huffington Post, Dec 2012 

“Obama Avows ‘A New Beginning’ To Muslims,” NPR, June 2009 

“Being A ‘Hyphenated American’ Opens Two Worlds,” Christian Science Monitor, Feb 2009 

“Life in the Spies’ Back Yard,” The Washington Post, May 2008 

“Iraq: Is Partition the Answer?” The Atlantic, Nov. 2006 

“In the Face of Genocide,” The Atlantic, Oct. 2006 

“Hizbullah Doesn’t Speak for Lebanon,” The Christian Science Monitor, Aug.16, 2006  

Selected Portfolios

"Bona Fide Relationships," The Margins.

Through stories, essays, and poems, writers imagine new narratives that speak to Trump’s Muslim ban.


An Abaya Story, Co-Writer (password: halloween)