©2019 by Elaine and Muna Imady.

Welcome to Elaine and Muna Imady’s Website

Mother and Daughter Authors

 

Ahlan wa sahlan

a warm welcome

Maybe you read one of our books and want to know more about us? Maybe you
just chanced upon our website? In either case welcome or ahlan wa sahlan as they
say in Arabic.

 

About the Authors

A Syrian American family of writers

Elaine comes from a family with roots that go back to the 18th century in Palisades, NY.  While studying English literature at NYU in 1955, she met and in 1956 married a fellow student from Syria who was studying economics.  In 1960, Elaine, her husband Mohammed Imady – with his newly minted PhD - and their daughter Susan, went to live in Damascus, Syria, Mohammed’s home town. They raised three bi-lingual, bi-cultural children there: Susan, Muna and Omar.

Muna was born in 1962 and from an early age declared she was a “writer and a poet”.  Although we all laughed about this, it would prove to be the simple truth. She graduated from Damascus University with a degree in English literature and then, after getting certified as an official English/Arabic translator, she worked for two years at the Furat Oil Company in Damascus as a translator.  In 1987 Muna married Nizar Zarka, an engineer studying in France. Muna and Nizar had two children born in France: Nour and Sammy. Also, in the bustling six years they were in France, Muna obtained a Matris from the Sorbonne and Nizar a PhD in computer technology. Despite giving birth to two premature babies and having major surgery for a cyst on her liver in France, Muna continued writing short stories and poems in English.

After six years in France, the Zarka family came back to Damascus and Nizar began working at the Research Center.  For a while, Muna wrote stories in Arabic that were published in Majid, a magazine for children. Then, someone suggested Muna try teaching English to Syrian children since she came from a family of teachers.  She was hired by Amideast and quickly became their star teacher. She wrote her own curricula and reading primers and taught in a gifted, original way with games and skits. Her students loved her and her classes and learned English painlessly.  In 1998, Muna stopped teaching temporarily when Kareem, her third child, was born.

Back at Amideast, Muna also worked for a year teaching English to children at Ibn Haritha, a foundling home, although it took a toll on her health as the class rooms were not heated in winter and the children were a challenge.

Muna returned happily to Amideast and began asking her students – who were from all the 14 provinces of Syria – to ask their grandmothers for folktales and recipes.  Muna would translate them into English and use them in her classes. As Syria began to become unhinged, the American Embassy closed Amideast and Muna moved to a private school opened by the former assistant head of Amideast.  She taught there until Damascus became so unsafe, that even this school was closed.

Now, that her hands were free, Muna devoted herself full-time to writing.  Her stories and poems reflected the war around her. She lived in Berze, on the slopes of Mount Qassioun and government shells were fired over her home to the Ghouta below while shells from the opposition in the Ghouta landed in Berze.  Whenever her children or husband left home, Muna would phone them to be sure they were safe. I am sure the war aggravated her heart condition and helped to contribute to her death in April 2016.


Although Muna started writing poetry almost as soon as she picked up a pen, my book, Postscripts From Palisades, was first published by Dar Tlass in 20002.  In 2003 a limited edition of Postscripts was published by the Palisades Free Library and the local historical committee and a third edition was published by iUniverse, Inc. in 2004.  Postscripts was written to celebrate my mother who died in 1995 at the age of 94.  She also was a writer, although her book of published poems only had local circulation. My next book was a memoir about leaving Palisades, NY, marrying a Syrian student I met while we both were studying at NYU, and travelling with him and our small daughter to Damascus in 1960 where I have spent the rest of my long life.  This book is called Road to Damascus and was published by MSI Press in 2008.

 Meanwhile, my daughter, Muna, while teaching young Syrians English became interested in Syrian folktales.  Many of her students came from different parts of Syria and were pleased to share their folktales with their teacher.  Muna’s first book is called Syrian Folktales and was published in 2011 by MSI Press.  This book contains folk stories from each of the 14 provinces of Syria. My sociable Muna attracted a large number of friends and folktale fans on Facebook and the prestigious on-line magazine, Wild River Review. Her first book became a success and she began planning a more ambitious book now that the Syrian war closed down the schools where she taught and she had free time to write.  However, Muna’s health began to fail as the war intensified. She lived on the slopes of the mountain overlooking Damascus and from her home she had a panoramic view of the city which, starting in 2012, began to give her a frightening overview of the war. At the beginning of 2016, Muna was diagnosed with heart trouble. She had open heart surgery in April and died twelve days later. She left behind a partially finished book with a complete table of contents so her plan for the book was clear.  My second daughter and I planned to deal with our grief by finishing Muna’s book. It took us three years, but in March 2019 Muna’s book, Kan Ya Ma Kan: Folktales & Recipes of Syria & its Ethnic Groups was launched, published by Daybreak Press.

 

DAMASCUS
AMID THE WAR

November 20, 2019

Check out my latest published book. After spending countless hours working up to its release, I’m proud to announce that it’s finally ready. Creative, innovative, and filled with excitement, A Precious Truth is the next book for you. If you liked my previous titles I guarantee you’ll love this one as well.

 

Kan Ya Ma Kan

January 20, 2023

Check out my latest published book. After spending countless hours working up to its release, I’m proud to announce that it’s finally ready. Creative, innovative, and filled with excitement, A Precious Truth is the next book for you. If you liked my previous titles I guarantee you’ll love this one as well.

 

Syrian Folktales

January 20, 2023

Check out my latest published book. After spending countless hours working up to its release, I’m proud to announce that it’s finally ready. Creative, innovative, and filled with excitement, A Precious Truth is the next book for you. If you liked my previous titles I guarantee you’ll love this one as well.

 

Road to Damascus

January 20, 2023

Check out my latest published book. After spending countless hours working up to its release, I’m proud to announce that it’s finally ready. Creative, innovative, and filled with excitement, A Precious Truth is the next book for you. If you liked my previous titles I guarantee you’ll love this one as well.

 

Postscripts from Palisades

January 20, 2023

Check out my latest published book. After spending countless hours working up to its release, I’m proud to announce that it’s finally ready. Creative, innovative, and filled with excitement, A Precious Truth is the next book for you. If you liked my previous titles I guarantee you’ll love this one as well.

 

"To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man"

Aristotle