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G. Willow Wilson

G. Willow Wilson(1982- )
G. Willow Wilson began her writing career at 17 as a music and DJ critic for Boston’s Weekly Dig. After moving to Egypt in 2003, Willow’s articles and essays on Islam and the Middle East appeared in publications including the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times, and Glamour. A lifelong fan of comics and graphic novels, Willow’s first ongoing comic book series, AIR, was nominated for an Eisner Award. Her memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, the story of her conversion to Islam and life in Egypt, was named Best Book of 2010 by the Seattle Times. Her first novel, Alif the Unseen, debuts in 2012. She enjoys British films, cooking, and World of Warcraft, and holds a purple belt in kajukenbo.


Alif the Unseen: An embracingly fresh and layered novel

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen is an embracingly fresh and layered novel that has its faults, but remains entertaining and thought provoking throughout. Not to mention timely, as it deals with the idea of revolution and change in the Middle East, a book that is about the Arab Spring despite being written before the Arab Spring actually took place.

Alif the Unseen is set in a nameless “City” in an authoritarian Arab country ruled by an Emir whose security apparatus has long kept the population in check. Included in that apparatus is “one of the most sophisticated digital policing systems in the world,” though one that up to now our main hacker protagonist Alif has managed to elude as he lends his considerable computer skills to “anyone who could pay for his protection... Islamists, anarchists, secularists — whoever asks.” Alif’s ideology is fre... Read More

The Bird King: Magic is woven throughout the book

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

G. Willow Wilson’s 2019 YA Novel The Bird King is a wonderful read: an exciting adventure with a complicated female protagonist, set in a time and place that may be unfamiliar to many of us. Magic is woven throughout the book, as young Fatima wrestles with the concepts of faith, freedom and leadership.

Fatima is the Sultan’s concubine in the last Islamic kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula. She holds a precarious place in the palace hierarchy. As a slave she’s powerless; as the Sultan’s concubine she wields, or could wield, great influence, especially if she bears him a son. Fatima, born into enslavement, dreams of freedom, but the closest she gets to it is the magical maps drawn by her friend, the royal mapmaker, Hassan. Hassan can map a place that exists only in his imaginati... Read More

A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers

A People's Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers edited by Victor LaValle & John Joseph Adams

In reaction to the Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States as well as to the rhetoric spewed by his far-right supporters such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, Victor LaValle & John Joseph Adams wrote to a diverse set of speculative fiction authors with this charge: “We are seeking stories that explore new forms of freedom, love, and justice: narratives that release us from the chokehold of the history and mythology of the past… and writing that gives us new futures to believe in.”

The “mythology” they refer to is the history we learned in school which taught us about all the great white men who accomplished all the significant events in American history. This idea has b... Read More