Book Review :: My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante left me desiring. New shoes I wanted. Forth I sprung like a warrior with a credit card on a mission to find matching footwear for a story. For how could you write a novel that involves shoe making yet not describe the shoes. What […]

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Farrante

Eyrie by Tim Winton

Book Review :: Eyrie

Words explode into the air, leaving behind velocity rings worthy of your favorite Pikachu. The force of the acrobatics is contradicted with gentility of the landing. Soft as a feather. Soft is the feather of these words. Soft and cuddly, I want caress the sentences. I reread lines and luxuriate […]

Frankenstein in Baghdad :: Book Review 1

Frankenstein in Baghdad is novel by Iraqi author Ahmad Saadawi. It tells the story of everyday day life of modern Baghdad through a nameless Frankenstein like creature. A seller of old furniture and other used objects, assembles that torn body parts of victims of a terrorist attack into a unified […]

Frankenstein in Baghdad

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell book review

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, […]

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 […]

Hotdog Socks

Burano Italy

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 […]

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 […]

polka dot park

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 […]

How to Name a Novel

Elen Ghulam storytelling

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 […]


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 […]

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 […]

Graffiti Hack

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 […]


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


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


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


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 […]