Zaina Arafat is an LGBTQ Arab-American fiction and nonfiction writer. She is the author of the novel, You Exist Too Much, which won a 2021 Lambda Literary Award and was named Roxane Gay's favorite book of 2020. Her stories and essays have appeared in publications including The New York Times, Granta, The Believer, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Harper's Bazaar, BuzzFeed, VICE, Guernica, Literary Hub and NPR. In recognition of her work, she was awarded the Arab Women/Migrants from the Middle East fellowship at Jack Jones Literary Arts and named a Champion of Pride by The Advocate. She holds an M.F.A. from Iowa and an M.A. from Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn and is currently at work on a collection of essays.
Zaina teaches writing at Barnard College, The School of the New York Times and LIU Post. She has also taught at the University of Iowa, the International Writing Program the Center for Fiction and Sackett Street Writers', as well as abroad in Jordan, Egypt and Eritrea, where she taught creative writing as part of a U.S. State Department/International Writing Program delegation. She has also led workshops for dreamers and DACA recipients through the Writer's Guild Initiative.
As an editor, she curated a portfolio of prose and poetry in response to the travel ban, as well as a Q & A series with Muslim writers forThe Margins. She currently edits digital content for WNET's arts-focused television station, ALL ARTS.