Reclaiming Queer Arab Stories: A Lecture and Conversation with Saleem, Author of “Guapa”

March 20, 2017

Saleem Haddad    

Monday, March 20, 6:30PM–8:30PM, Room 1300-1400, Segal Building, 500 Granville St, Vancouver

This event is cosponsored by SFU’s Global Communication MA Double Degree, School of International Studies (SIS), Institute for the Humanities, Centre for Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures (CCSMSC), Department of EnglishWorld Literature Program, and Vancity Office of Community Engagement.

From the images of ISIS throwing gay men off towers in Syria to the media rhetoric following the Orlando nightclub shootings in 2016, over the last several years LGBT Arabs have found themselves at the crossfires of global ‘clash of civilizations’ discourses. Drawing on the works of queer Arab activists, as well as his own personal experience, Saleem Haddad will examine the challenges facing queer Arabs in reclaiming their own narratives. He will discuss the different ways his novel, Guapa, has been received around the world, examine the impact of Israeli government ‘pinkwashing’, and survey the growing xenophobic discourse about the ‘homophobia’ and ‘misogyny’ of Muslim and refugee communities in Europe and North America. Through this, he will discuss what the global rise of the far-right means for LGBT politics, and how LGBT Arabs have begun to fight back.


Saleem Haddad was born in Kuwait City to an Iraqi-German mother and a Palestinian-Lebanese father. He graduated from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario in 2005, and has since worked with Médecins Sans Frontières and other international organisations in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, and Egypt. His first novel, Guapa, was published in 2016, a political and personal coming-of-age story of a young gay man living through the 2011 Arab revolutions. The novel received critical acclaim from the New YorkerThe Guardian, and others, and was awarded a Stonewall Honour in 2017. Haddad was also selected as one of the top 100 Global Thinkers of 2016 by Foreign Policy Magazine. He currently divides his time between London and the Middle East.


Adel Iskandar is an Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Global Communication MA Double Degree progran at Simon Fraser University. He is the author, coauthor, and editor of several works including Egypt In Flux: Essays on an Unfinished Revolution (AUCP/OUP)Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network that is Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism (Basic Books), Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation (University of California Press), and Mediating the Arab Uprisings (Tadween Publishing). Iskandar's work deals with media, identity and politics and has lectured extensively on these topics at universities worldwide. His latest publication is the coedited volume Media Evolution on the Eve of the Arab Spring (Palgrave Macmillan). He is a co-editor of Jadaliyya and host of Status Audio Journal.