Arab-Australian Fiction: National Stories, Transnational Connections


  • Jumana Bayeh Macquarie University



Australia, Arab diaspora, literature, Arab Australian, fiction, national stories, transnational, Arab American fiction, literary studies, Arab diaspora fiction, migration, diaspora, comparative literature


Unlike the scholarly interest in Arab-American fiction, Arab-Australian literature has not received as much attention from literary critics, Australian-based or otherwise. Increased interest in Arab-American literature has been explained and often contextualized through the U.S.’s long-standing interference in the Arab world, as well as the tense relations between Arabs and Americans within the U.S. But these issues are not unique to America – like the U.S., Australia has not shied away from intervening in the region and also has its own troubled relations with Arab immigrant communities. And yet, despite these similar circumstances, no study of how Arab-Australian literature might apprehend or dramatize these particular relations has been undertaken. This paper provides some insights into the albeit nascent but growing field of Arab-Australian fiction. It explores how and in what ways Arab-Australian literature can be categorized as a form of Australian writing, and be seen as part of a transnational network of Arab diaspora fiction.

Cover image: Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies

Author Biography

Jumana Bayeh, Macquarie University

Jumana Bayeh is a Lecturer at Macquarie University, Australia and an Honorary Associate of the Department of Arabic Language and Cultures at the University of Sydney. She has held research fellowships at the University of Toronto (2014), University of Edinburgh (2013), the University of Copenhagen (2011), and the Lebanese American University in Beirut (2007). She is the author of The Literature of the Lebanese Diaspora: Representations of Place and Transnational Identity (I.B. Tauris, 2015) as well as a number of book chapters and articles on Arab diaspora fiction. Her current project examines the representation of the nation-state in Arab diaspora literature, from writers based in Australia, North America and the United Kingdom.