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North and South :: Book Review

Every once in a while I read something that is so good it makes my heart pound with excitement. I find myself resisting the urge to stand on top of a roof top and yell “This Novel is Amazing, Read it Right Now”. In 2014, I read many good books, […]

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell book review

Hotdog Socks

The Story of a New Name – Book Review 3

What is it that happened to me since visiting Italy last summer? Something got under my skin. What I eat, how I see and even what I write has been influenced in sometimes subtle and other times bold fashion. Once in a while I find the strangest thought bubble up […]


Top 10 Magical Moments from my Europe Trip 2

Click in the image to see a bigger one. 10. Rainbow over the Alps 9. Train Football To pass time on many train rides, inspired by FIFA matches, my son invented train football (soccer for north americans). It starts by scrunching paper tissue into a ball. Using the side tables […]

Burano Italy

polka dot park

Switzerland’s Obesession with Polka dots

I have been in Switzerland for a few weeks and everywhere I look I see polka dots. Let me illustrate with a few examples. A Polka dot park at EPFL in Lausanne Polka dot fountain spotted at Pierre Gianadda Foundation in Martigny. This one moved in circular motion while squirting […]


How to Name a Novel

How to Name a Novel 1

After months of agonizing search for the right name for my novel, the answer comes from a most unexpected source. Here is a list of dreadful names that my novel nearly got called: Maladjusted Realism Hyphenated Realism Amalgamated Realism Hyphenated at the Seams Maladjusted at the Seams Same but Different […]


Storytelling and Writing

Long long time ago in the Middle East, before there was TV or Radio, men would go to the coffee shop to listen to the storyteller. These professional storytellers knew how to stretch a tale into multi-evening events that kept their audience captivated night after night. Since Graffiti Hack is […]

Elen Ghulam storytelling

Gratitude :: The story behind my book launch party

Since I published Graffiti Hack, incidents of serendipity have been popping up in my life. Things that fall in my lap on their own that had I planned for I would have never attained. Most of these are on the personal side and I can’t reveal too much, but this […]

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Graffiti Hack

Graffiti Hack Book Launch Party

You are warmly invited to celebrate the publication of Graffiti Hack:  A Novel by Elen Ghulam Join your friends, get your hot-off-the-press copy of the book, nibble on some munchies, and revel in the music of flamenco. Elen Ghulam will be there to sign books, answer questions, offer a short reading […]


No More Insight

I wrote the first book thinking that I had something to say and that somebody out there would find value in reading it. When the book was launched into the world, many who read it corresponded with me telling me their stories, sharing their insights. That part was good and […]

Hand Eaten by Book

Best Novels from all around the Globe

My Name is Red, by Orhan Pamuk – Turkey Cities of Salt, by Abdelrahman Munif – Saudi Arabia Like Water for Chocolate, by laura esquivel – Mexico Wild Swans, by Jung Chang – China Seasons of Migration to the North , By Tayeb Salih – Sudan Unless by Carol Shields […]

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hedgehogin foliage

To Lure a Hedgehog 3

To be an Arab living in the west is to be sentenced to a lifetime of caressing a hedgehog. I get pricked by spines of misunderstanding. No matter what I say it gets twisted into an extreme. I shoot a nurf gun, the slightest touch startles , out come the […]


Book of Love :: Music Video

The book of love is long and boring Read from the book of love you must Music and Vocals by Barbara Browning http://soundcloud.com/barbarabrowning Cover of Stephin Merritt’s song by the same name

Book of Love

graduation

The Story Behind my Novel 1

In 2003, while the US was bombing Iraq, yet again, my employer sent me to Washington DC to attend a work related conference. The irony of sending an Iraqi to the capital city of the US at that particular time escaped my boss. My state of distress was well disguised […]


Book Review :: Correspondence Artist 1

A novel that wants to make love to the whole world. A novel that reveals its secrets in quiet whispers that will make your ears strain against the page. A novel that has no plot yet tells a story. A novel that repeats the same scenario, over and over, but […]

correspondence artist by barbara browning

broken tree

Increase me in Knowledge 1

“Write what you know” I heard it said before. Hmmmm! …… I disagree. At age 19, I immigrated from the middle-east and found myself in an in-between state. Wet from the all immersive experience of being deeply embedded in a culture; dry as a cracker observing new set of social […]


Dating advice 3

Friends ask me for dating advice all the time. “Should I call him back right away or wait for a few days?” an eager friend will inquire hoping for navigation in the turbulent seas of singlehood. “Call him right away” I might half-hazard a reply. “But then I might seem […]

book lover

heart shape puddle

I am ready

I am ready to eat a strawberry by squeezing it between my fingers watch red juice flow drop by drop I am ready to jump up and down on Oprah’s couch declaring great love for others to ridicule I am ready I got it at last My chaos is my […]


Carnival :: A Book Review

I remember the first time I heard the name of the author Rawi Hage. At a party, my friend Carol was eager to tell me about the Arab-Canadian author who had been nominated for the Giller (Canadian literary prize). My immediate reaction was “Dang! that is such a cool name”. […]

carnival rawi hage review rose

Fish

In the Cave 1

It is such a dense burden – giving birth to a grown up woman. To spare polite society the affliction of observing this most unnatural of labours I feel compelled to retreat into a remote cave in the wilderness where I entered one day and got lost in labyrinth unable […]


Graffiti Around Vancouver

My new found interest in graffiti is compelling me to notice it everywhere I go and I end up taking pictures.   The text says “Laugh Now … One Day We’ll Be In Charge” This one seems inspired by banksy. I found it on 4th ave in kits.     […]

graffiti Vancouver Cell Phone

gollum with the ring

My Dearie and I :: Part 1 1

Here is the written version of the story I love, love, love my Canadian passport. My sentiment might strike you as exuberant. You have not travelled around the world with an Iraqi passport; therefore I don’t expect you to understand. I have a ritual that I follow whenever I am […]


Artistic Correspondence

I receive all sorts of things: Gifts, books, poems, death treats, lovely emails and pictures of all sorts. Today, however I received something I have never received before – A painting of myself. The artist’s name is Falah Hassan, he lives in Irbil Iraq where he teaches fine arts. Unfortunately, […]

ihath by Falah Hassan

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Kusama Under my Skin

felt pen on paper I was researching polka dots on the internet when I discovered a Japanese artist called Yayoi Kusama, who is obsessed with polka dots. My research moved from the internet to the public library and I managed to find a few books and event a movie made […]


The Humble Humus 1

This video was inspired by the AnnoyingOrange. Only, I would argue that The Humble Humus is far more annoying than the orange because The Annoying Orange knows that it is annoying, whereas this sticky and mushy food item has no self awareness whatsoever. There is nothing more annoying that mock […]

The humble humus

It was Just a Dream

It was Just a Dream

Music By JoJo Zawawi – used with permission by the artist Here are some words that JoJo used to describe herself: I’m a Classical & Jazz Pianist ! And some Flamenco, too ! I began playing piano when I was 18 months old. I never learned to read music (working […]