Amiry, Suad 1951–

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Amiry, Suad 1951–

PERSONAL: Born 1951, in Damascus, Syria; daughter of a Jordanian ambassador and a printing press operator; married Salim Tamari, c. 1981. Education: Degrees from American University of Beirut and University of Michigan; University of Edinburgh, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Home and office—P.O. Box 212, Ramallah, Al-sharafa, Palestine; fax: 02-240-69-86. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: RIWAQ Center for Architectural Conservation, Ramallah, Palestine, founder and director; Birzeit University, Ramallah, instructor, 1981–; deputy minister of culture in the Palestinian government, began 1996. Member of the Palestinian delegation to peace negotiations, 1991.

AWARDS, HONORS: Viareggio-Versilia Prize, Italy, for Sharon and My Mother-in-Law.


(With Vera Tamari) The Palestinian Village Home, British Museum Publications (London, England), 1989.

Traditional Floor Tiles in Palestine, illustrated by Lena Sobeh, Arabic translation by Taisir Hammad, RIWAQ (Ramallah, Palestine), 2000.

(With Rana Anani, Miya Jurundal, Elizabeth Hardin, Faras Rahhal, and Yara al-Sharif) Imarat quraalkarasi: min tarikh al-iqta fi rif Filastin fialqarnayn al-thamin ashar wa-al-tasi ashar (title means "Throne Village Architecture"), RIWAQ (Ramallah, Palestine), 2003.

Kaputsino be-Ramallah: reshimot min ha-seger (title means "Cappucino in Ramallah: War Diaries"), Hebrew translation by Roni Meirshtain, Bavel (Tel Aviv, Israel), 2003.

(With Firas Rahhal) Manatir: qusur al-mazari fi rif Filastin (title means "Manatir: Agricultural Farmhouses in Rural Palestine"), RIWAQ (Ramallah, Palestine), 2003.

(Editor, with Mouhammad Hadid) Earthquake in April, 2003.

Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries (memoir), Pantheon (New York, NY), 2004.

Sharon and My Mother-in-Law has been translated into numerous languages, including Italian and French.

SIDELIGHTS: Palestinian author Suad Amiry's first career was as an architect and preservationist of historic buildings. She has been teaching architecture at a Ramallah university for many years, and several of her books were on this subject. However, to Western audiences, Amiry is best known as the author of a very different type of book. Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries began as a journal that Amiry kept and e-mails that she sent to her friends in 2002, when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon put Ramallah under a curfew for forty-three days. During this time, Amiry's ninety-two-year-old mother-in-law lived with Amiry's family for safety, a state of affairs that, Amiry writes, drove her nearly insane. In her introduction, she tells Sharon, "Perhaps one day I may forgive you for putting us under curfew for forty-two days, but I will never forgive you for obliging to have my mother-in-law with us for what seemed, then, more like forty-two years." Although the book deals with weighty geopolitical topics, it generally approaches them with humor. Amiry points out the absurdity of such situations as the time her dog had a passport to enter Jerusalem but she didn't (she convinces the Israeli border guard to allow her to enter the city as well, since the dog could clearly not drive into Jerusalem by herself), or her paranoia at being given a tacky plug-in model of Mecca by a neighbor—one of her first thoughts is to wonder if the knick-knack is bugged. Amiry's tale is "refreshingly different from any other writings on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," Fred Rhodes remarked in the Middle East. Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman also praised the book, calling it "laugh-out-loud funny," while Library Journal contributor Ethan Pullman concluded that Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, is "excellent for providing the Palestinian perspective on living in the West Bank through years of upheaval."



Amiry, Suad, Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries, Pantheon (New York, NY), 2004.


Biography, fall, 2005, Nomi Morris, review of Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, p. 700.

Booklist, September 1, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, p. 46.

Economist (U.S.), August 6, 2005, "Where to Now? The Israeli-Palestinian Deadlock," p. 68.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), September 17, 2005, Nomi Morris, review of Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, p. D18.

Library Journal, October 1, 2005, Ethan Pullman, review of Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, p. 95.

Middle East, February, 2005, Fred Rhodes, review of Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, p. 64.

Newsweek International, February 14, 2005, William Underhill, review of Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, p. 55.

Publishers Weekly, August 1, 2005, review of Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, p. 57.


Al-Jazeerah, (January 23, 2005), Genevieve Cora Fraser, "Suad Amiry's Book on Life in Palestine under Occupation Exposes Israeli Crazy-Makers."

Three Monkeys Online, (February 22, 2006), Michael O'Connor, "The Human Side of Occupation: Suad Amiry, Author of Sharon and My Mother-in-Law in Interview."

RIWAQ Center for Architectural Conservation, (February 22, 2006).

Women for Palestine, (February 22, 2006), "Suad Amiry."