Zaina Arafat

Zaina Arafat

Adjunct Assistant Professor




411B Barnard Hall


Zaina Arafat is the author of You Exist Too Much, which won a 2021 Lambda Literary Award and was named Roxane Gay's favorite book of 2020. Her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, VICE, BuzzFeed, Granta, Guernica, The Believer, Harper’s Bazaar and Virginia Quarterly Review. She holds an MA in international affairs from Columbia University and an MFA from the University of Iowa. In recognition of her work, Zaina was awarded the Arab Women/Migrants from the Middle East fellowship at Jack Jones Literary Arts and named a Champion of Pride by The Advocate. She is currently a columnist and contributing editor for Xtra and a faculty member at The School of the New York Times, and is at work on an essay collection. (

Creative Nonfiction: Mapping Identity Through Narrative

Fiction & Creative Nonfiction

  • MFA University of Iowa (2013)
  • MA Columbia University (2009)
  • BA University of Virginia (2004)



  • You Exist Too Much, debut novel, Catapult Books, June 2020
  • Our Arab, Manuscript in Progress (Essay Collection)


Essays, Stories & Articles:

  • From Child Soldier to Children's Advocate, Fordham Lawyer, July 2021
  • How A Revolutionary Turned A Berlin Mosque Into A Declaration of Love, Xtra, May 2021
  • Fashion in In Isolation: T-Shirt, Guernica, June 2020
  • Writing a Novel of Things Unattained, Literary Hub, June 2020
  • Our Arab, The Believer, June/July 2018
  • When Getting a College Degree Requires Self-Exile, The New York Times, Sept. 2017
  • Power Jam: Roller Derby as Political Act, Virginia Quarterly Review, Summer 2017
  • Asking Jihadists Why They Hate Us, VICE, June 2017
  • Imagining Trump’s Border Plan as a Guantanamo, VICE, May 2017
  • Refugees Want to Fall in Love, Just Like Everyone Else, VICE, Mar. 2017
  • This Refugee is 3D-Printing Lost Limbs for Syrian War Survivors, VICE, Feb. 2017
  • Dear Students: A Letter From Your Muslim-American Teacher, VICE, Nov. 2016
  • Wrap Star, BuzzFeed, Sept. 2016
  • Resist, Iowa Review, Fall 2015
  • Persist, Granta, Dec. 2013
  • The Problem with Being Palestinian on Thanksgiving, BuzzFeed, Nov 2013
  • Are the Rights of Some Citizens Worth More than those of Others? Huffington Post, Dec. 2012
  • Obama Avows a New Beginning to Muslims, NPR, June 2009
  • Being A Hyphenated American Opens Two Worlds, Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 2009
  • Life in the Spies Backyard, The Washington Post, May 2008
  • Iraq: Is Partition the Answer? The Atlantic, Nov. 2006
  • In the Face of Genocide, The Atlantic, Oct. 2006
  • Hizbullah Doesn’t Speak for Lebanon, Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 2006