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Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan

Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan February 3, 2022

Honorable Mention in the 2018 Nick Adams Short Story Contest

Story: Za’atar Croissants

“Much of Beirut’s fascinating complexity comes to life in this remarkably vivid, concise vignette of a father and teenage daughter cleaning out a disused family apartment. A recent history of violence and death is felt strongly, but so is the energy and invention of the city, as epitomized perhaps in the titular croissants. All of this is achieved in about six pages, and I would happily read another sixty.”

– Final judge Will Boast


More about Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan:

  • Senior at Macalester College
  • Major: English (Creative Writing)
  • Minors: Music; Classical Mediterranean and Middle East Languages (Arabic)
  • Hometown: Chicago, IL

Q. What sparked your interest in writing, and how did you get started writing fiction?

As a child, I always loved reading and making up stories, so writing as a passion for me emerged before I can really remember. In eighth grade, one of my school teachers started an afterschool club to do National Novel Writing Month, so I wrote my first novel then. I completed National Novel Writing Month again in high school, and even though I also enjoy other forms of writing, fiction and novel writing will always have my heart.

Q. What drew you to write about the subject and characters in “Za’atar Croissants”?

My family is from Beirut, Lebanon, but I was born and raised in the United States, so I’ve always had an interest in themes of diaspora and home, and how those are affected by lasting events such as war. I also have a lot of family who moved to France, and since Lebanon was under French mandate in the early-middle 20th century, I’m particularly interested in the connections between the two countries and cultures.

Q. How have you developed your writing while you’ve been at Macalester?

I am a Creative Writing Major and I’m currently working on an Honors thesis in fiction, which is actually partially based on “Za’atar Croissants.” Outside of the classroom, though, I am the Editor-in-Chief of Chanter, our student literary magazine, and the Senior Editor of The Words, the English Department Newsletter, so I’ve been able to develop my writing from multiple angles.

Q. In addition to fiction, are there other types of writing you are particularly interested in?

I love writing poetry, and I really appreciate the way my poetry influences my fiction and vice versa.

Q. What are your plans after graduation this spring?

I am currently looking for jobs in publishing or other literary-related fields, and hope to go to graduate school for an MFA in a year or two.

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