Veteran New Yorker now living in Abu Dhabi (which is not Dubai); novelist, literary critic, literature professor at NYU Abu Dhabi and former columnist for The National, the English-language newspaper of the UAE. Writes about culture, art, books, family, the perils of parenthood, feminism, travel, teaching and learning. Loves essays, historical fiction, and semi-colons. Co-editor of the Oxford History of the Novel in English Volume Eight: US Literature From 1940. Works in progress: "The Corset and the Veil," a novel based on the extraordinary life of Lady Hester Stanhope; and "Children's Literature and the Post-National Imagination," which explores how YA literature written "after the American century," to use Brian Edwards' term, is moving to a post-national view of the world.
By DEBORAH LINDSAY WILLIAMS "We need to do more, Mom," my son tells me. He's fifteen, supports the Kurdish resistance and fancies himself an anarcho-socialist ("It's not like being an anarchist, Mom, okay?"). The Young Socialist lives in a state of perpetual indignation about the state of the world.
At least once a semester, I have a conversation that goes something like this: a colleague looks at her students' essays and moans, "They just can't write." When I ask how much class time she spends talking about student writing, I'm told quite sharply that "there is way too much material to cover to spend time on that, so I just give them a handout.
On Campus ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - "My grandmother told me that the man is the head and the woman is the neck," said an East European student in my class. "It makes me so mad. I don't want to be the neck."
The Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel, opened in November after years of delay and a cost rumored to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The same weekend as LAD's grand opening, the NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center hosted the world premiere of Parable of the Sower, an opera composed by the singer/songwriter Toshi Reagon, a queer Brooklyn-based activist, and based on the prophetic novel by Octavia Butler.
What Would Hannah Gadsby Do? You can keep your Jesus bracelets with their WWJD reminders. I'm getting a bracelet that asks WWHGD: What Would Hannah Gadsby Do? Ever since I watched Nanette, her one-hour comedy show that everyone you know is probably telling you to watch (they're right; you should), I haven't been able to get Hannah out of my mind.
By Deborah Lindsay Williams @mannahattamamma My son is seventeen. He regularly goes to parties where there are girls and lots of booze, and he doesn't keep a calendar, unless you call "writing things on my hand so I don't forget" a calendar.
By Deborah Williams @mannahattamamma The screams echo out of my son's room: Look out! Get that guy! No, no, on the LEFT, shoot him, oh my god you missed, you loser, how did you not GET him? You're useless-wait, now! SHOOT NOW! His bellowing warms my heart.
My boys are 18 and 15-their silky baby cheeks have long since vanished in whiffs of aftershave and occasional razor stubble and when they hug me, I can feel the muscles bunching across their shoulders. I think to myself, "they're good boys," but then like a malevolent ghost the thought floats in: what if I'm wrong?
"Is that what really happened?" The student who asks me this question is not being disingenuous. We are in a literature class that is part of New York University Abu Dhabi's core curriculum, and he is pointing to pictures in Art Spiegelman's book Maus that show starving Auschwitz prisoners being beaten by Nazi guards.
Selected Academic Essays
Co-authored essay about the global liberal arts
Two very different YA novels - one set in Nigeria, the other on a Navajo (Dineh) reservation in the United States - present similarly paradoxical answers to the question about what it means to be human.
Selected Columns from The National (2013-2018)
Over the years, the stories on the Hekayah stage have illuminated every aspect of life in the Emirates H ow do you celebrate the founding of a country? Fireworks, maybe a parade or two, give people the day off work so they can enjoy themselves.
I'm an antiquities geek. I love archival research, looking at letters and manuscripts from bygone centuries; I get a thrill from walking up an ancient staircase and seeing the grooves in the stone created by the thousands, maybe millions, of feet that have preceded mine.
I went to Louvre Abu Dhabi earlier this month and because I'm a member I didn't have to wait in line. But I was delighted by the fact that there was a line, perhaps because I am a recovering New Yorker for whom "waiting in line" is a quasi-perpetual occupation, as is the discussion about whether one waits "on" line or "in" line.
"This is a terrific read, filled with plot twists, history, humour and romance..." "A great book for teenage girls ..." The handful of readers who have taken the time to fill out a customer review on Amazon's website are well-disposed towards The Time Locket, a self-published novel [ Amazon.com] by Deborah Quinn.
Deborah Lindsay Williams finds resonance in a Joni Mitchell lyric from the 1970s On a beautiful afternoon last week, I had a momentary bout of fitness, so I loaded my inflatable stand-up paddle-board into the car and drove to a spot along the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street where there was a launch spot into the mangroves.
The other night I got lost on Al Maryah island. True, it's not a very big island, and true, you'd think that on an island you could just head to the water and then get your bearings, but it's impossible to get to the water's edge unless you're on foot, and I was in a car, with a google map that looked like a lace-making pattern rather than roadway directions.
I pull a perfectly crusty boule from my oven. The kitchen smells so good that my children, who are 15 and 19, shuffle out of their rooms, eyes bleary from online learning and video chatting with college friends scattered around the world. The three of us look down at the Instagram-ready loaf.
Heading into my third year as an Abu Dhabi resident, I have learnt what may be the only truly global language: Ikeanese. I now converse fluently in the language of Hemnes, Ektorp, and Billy; I can make myself understood in Expedit and Solsta.
Sometimes travel tips don't reflect the reality of a country or a culture, argues Deborah Williams The other day I was asked to talk to an American freelance reporter who was working on an article about travel tips for women visiting the Emirates.
Selected Book Reviews
Donna Tartt's novel about a 13-year-old boy who survives a museum bombing and embarks on a complex journey tries to be too many things - thriller, love story, coming-of-age tale - and loses focus as a result, writes Deborah Lindsay Williams
Arcadia, Lauren Groff's second novel, is a bit like the hippie commune at its centre: sprawling, chaotic, wildly optimistic in its scope, seemingly headed for sentimental failure, until - unexpectedly - it works.
If ever you think about saints, how do you see them? Static figures with arms piously outstretched, perhaps, or maybe suffering tortures in the name of their faith? Reading , Nicola Griffith's painstakingly researched novel about the early life of St Hilda, will give you a very different picture.