With support from an Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy (IDEA) Innovation Grant, and in conversation with the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, the Writers House welcomes writer and MFA alum Susan Muaddi Darraj for a reading and Q&A moderated by ISGRJ Postdoctoral Fellow andie millares.

Susan will be reading from and discussing her book Behind You Is The Seawhich was published this winter by HarperCollins and received starred reviews from Booklist and Kirkus. Funny and touching, Behind You Is the Sea brings us into the homes and lives of three main families—the Baladis, the Salamehs, and the Ammars—Palestinian immigrants who’ve all found a different welcome in America. Their various fates and struggles cause their community dynamic to sizzle and sometimes explode. Behind You Is the Sea faces stereotypes about Palestinian culture head-on, and shifts perspectives to weave a complex social fabric replete with weddings, funerals, broken hearts, and devastating secrets. 

Susan Muaddi Darraj is an award-winning writer of books for adults and children. She won an American Book Award, two Arab American Book Awards, and a Maryland State Arts Council Independent Artists Award. In 2018, she was named a USA Artists Ford Fellow. Her books include her linked short story collection, A Curious Land, as well as the Farah Rocks children’s book series. She lives in Baltimore, where she teaches creative writing at Harford Community College and the Johns Hopkins University. Her new novel, BEHIND YOU IS THE SEA, was published in January 2024 by HarperVia.

andie millares is a poet from New Jersey. She recently received her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Camden, where she wrote about knockoff bags, Hello Kitty, poetry fellowships, Kermit the Frog, and Spam. andie has been granted fellowships from Kundiman for poetry and Lambda Literary for playwriting, respectively. Her work has been published in Catapult, Foglifter Journal, Underblong, MAYDAY Magazine, and elsewhere. She researches and writes about hobbyism, fashion, DIY culture, and arts administration in hopes of exploring how a language of making might intersect with a language of care.


Lunch will be provided. Enter at the rear door of the Writers House. Registration encouraged:  Register


This event is made possible by an IDEA Innovation Grant from the Rutgers-Camden Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement.

Visit the event URL

Date & Time
April 18, 2024
12:45 pm-1:45 pm

Writers House
Room 202
305 Cooper St.
Camden, NJ

Admission Information
Free and open to the public. Enter at rear door of Writers House. Registration encouraged.

Sienna Zeilinger
(856) 668-4980