~ By Jefferson Beavers, communications specialist, Creative Writing program, reprinted from FresnoStateNews.com
The award, one of six presented this year by the nonprofit Before Columbus Foundation, is given for outstanding contributions to diversity in American literature — “without restriction or bias with regards to race, sex, creed, cultural origin, size of press or ad budget, or genre.”
Previous recipients of the awards, which have been given since 1980, include Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich and Sherman Alexie.
Jarrar is an award-winning novelist, short-story writer, essayist and translator. Her first book, “A Map of Home,” was published in seven languages and won a Hopwood Award and an Arab-American Book Award.
Jarrar teaches in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at Fresno State. She has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Hedgebrook and Eastern Frontier, and she currently serves as the executive director of RAWI, the Radius of Arab American Writers.