A project by author Susan Muaddi Darraj, an associate professor of English at Harford Community College, was one of 14 selected for 2021 Rubys Artist Grants.
Muaddi Darraj plans to write a collection of short stories, titled “Escorting the Body,” on the impact of immigration and colonial trauma on women in the Palestinian American community. The $15,000 grant will support her ability to work on the book.
The Rubys Artist Grants are awarded to Baltimore-area artists to support innovative work with significant impact. Established in 2013 with the vision and funding of the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, the Rubys support artists of all disciplines and value experimentation, risk-taking, and unfettered creativity in artistic projects.
Since their launch, the Rubys have supported 144 artists and their projects.
A 2018 USA Ford Fellow, Muaddi Darraj has also served as a lecturer in the Johns Hopkins University’s Master of Arts in Writing program and a faculty member in Fairfield University’s Master of Fine Arts program.
Her short story collection, “A Curious Land: Stories from Home,” was named the winner of the AWP Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, judged by Jaime Manrique. It also won the 2016 Arab American Book Award, a 2016 American Book Award, and was shortlisted for a Palestine Book Award. Her previous short story collection, “The Inheritance of Exile,” was published in 2007 by University of Notre Dame Press.
In 2018, she was named a Ford Fellow by USA Artists. Muaddi Darraj also is a two-time recipient of an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council. She has also been awarded a Rubys Artist Grant from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation.
In 2019, she launched the viral #TweetYourThobe social media campaign to promote Palestinian culture. Later that year, she was named winner of the Rose Nader Award by the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, an award given by the Nader family to a person who “demonstrates an unwavering dedication and commitment to values of equality and justice.”
In January 2020, Capstone Books launched her debut children’s chapter book series, “Farah Rocks,” about a smart, brave Palestinian American girl named Farah Hajjar. The first book in the series, “Farah Rocks Fifth Grade,” made The Baltimore Sun’s “Books for the Beach” list.
In 2019, she penned a viral op-ed piece for Inside Higher Ed, “No Shame in Our Game,” about the importance of community college. It can be read here: https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2019/05/31/people-higher-ed-should-stop-disdaining-those-who-attend-or-work-community