Opening Wednesday, August 5th, from 7PM - 8PM
Join us as we celebrate the release of The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafah. Sahar will be in conversation with Patricia McNair.
A Palestinian American woman wrestles with faith, loss, and identity before coming face-to-face with a school shooter in this searing debut.
A uniquely American story told in powerful, evocative prose, The Beauty of Your Face navigates a country growing ever more divided. Afaf Rahman, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is the principal of Nurrideen School for Girls, a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter—radicalized by the online alt-right—attacks the school.
As Afaf listens to his terrifying progress, we are swept back through her memories: the bigotry she faced as a child, her mother’s dreams of returning to Palestine, and the devastating disappearance of her older sister that tore her family apart. Still, there is the sweetness of the music from her father’s oud, and the hope and community Afaf finally finds in Islam.
The Beauty of Your Face is a profound and poignant exploration of one woman’s life in a nation at odds with its ideals, an emotionally rich novel that encourages us to reflect on our shared humanity. If others take the time to really see us, to look into our face, they will find something indelibly familiar, something achingly beautiful gazing back.
Sahar Mustafah is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. Stories from her prize-winning collection Code of the West (2017) have been awarded the Guild Literary Complex Prize for fiction, a Distinguished Story honor from Best American Short Stories, and three Pushcart Prize nominations, among other honors. She teaches literature and creative writing to high school students outside of Chicago.
Booklist calls Patricia Ann McNair “an irresistible personal essayist of refreshing candor, vibrant openheartedness, rueful humor, and unassuming wisdom.” Author of And These Are the Good Times (essays), and The Temple of Air (stories), McNair received the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award, Southern Illinois University’s Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award, the Society of Midland Authors Finalist Award, and was named a finalist for the Montaigne Medal. McNair’s second short story collection, Responsible Adults, is scheduled for release in December 2020. She teaches in the English and Creative Writing Department Graduate and Undergraduate Programs at Columbia College Chicago.