Rewriting Home: A Life Writing Study in Post-Postwar Lebanon

El Hajj, Sleiman (2017) Rewriting Home: A Life Writing Study in Post-Postwar Lebanon. Life Writing, 15 (2). pp. 255-272. doi:10.1080/14484528.2017.1396525

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This article examines the role that creative writing, specifically life writing or creative nonfiction, can play in subverting dominant discourse in a post-conflict environment such as post-postwar (post-2006) Lebanon. To engage the views of Lebanese youth on home matters that shape their lives, I examine 62 personal narratives written by creative writing students at the University of Balamand in Beirut, Lebanon, over a three-year period (2013–2016). Produced against the backdrop of a fractious political climate worsened by the Syrian refugee crisis and military tensions disturbing the Middle East, the texts, I argue, focus on two subject groupings. The first is ‘Coming of Age in an Unstable Home Culture’, and the second is ‘Rewriting Home’. These I separate into six sub-themes: the sectarian and patriarchal gridlock, dim prospects, non-conformist choices, the plight of domestic workers, alternative communities and activism, and green texts. The memoirs reveal how coming of age amid risk and turmoil compelled students to develop contact zones and counter-spaces where non-sectarian initiatives can both circumvent and resist the political and patriarchal sanctions that prescribe life choices and reproduce mainstream followings.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Literature and Literary Theory; Creative writing students, youth memoirs, personal narratives, post-postwar Lebanon, sectarian politics, secular counter-narratives
Related URLs:
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR750 Prose
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
SWORD Depositor: Pubrouter
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2017 16:10
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:55

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