The Muslim Protagonist 2012

Write your own story


In 2012, in order to address the growing need for a Muslim voice in the great sea of American literature, Columbia MSA invited renowned novelists, playwrights, journalists and academics—including Mohsin Hamid, Naif Al-Mutawa, Wajahat Ali, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Musa Syeed, Anita Amirrezvani. Reza Aslan, Kamran Pasha, and many more—to Columbia for a weekend filled with inspiration and wisdom. The symposium, a series of talks, panels, and workshops held during the weekend of November 10th, attracted over 300 attendees from all over the northeast including Boston, Penn, Princeton, Yale and Rutgers.

Focusing on writing and art as agents of social change, the event shed light on the importance of the Muslim protagonist in a post-9/11 America, and gave prominent Muslim and non-Muslim writers of this generation the opportunity to discuss their experiences within an emerging American-Muslim literary community. Last year’s symposium, entitled “The Muslim Protagonist: Write your own story”, received coverage from The Huffington Post to Pakistan’s Express Tribune, and was lauded by speakers and attendees as “groundbreaking.”

Explore the flipboxes below to see videos recorded exclusively for The Muslim Protagonist from Mohsin Hamid, Naif Al-Mutawa, and Daniyal Mueenuddin.

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Photography by Ava Asiaii