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Olivia Jones-Hall, Literary Arts’ Youth Programs Coordinator, reads a selection from The Royal Abduls by Ramiza Koya in this reading filmed at the Portland Art Museum. Ramiza Koya was a beloved educator, writer, and the Director of Youth Programs at Literary Arts. She died of cancer in June 2020. The Royal Abduls, published in spring 2020, was her debut novel.
The pop-up readings are a partnership between the Portland Book Festival and the Portland Art Museum where Festival authors are thematically paired with artworks in the Museum. A celebration of creatives, the pop-ups highlight the intersections of visual art and the written word. For this pop-up reading, Jones-Hall was paired with Jama Masjid by Yoshida Chizuko, in the Joryū Hanga Kyōkai (Japan’s Women Printmakers) exhibit on view now at the Portland Art Museum.
About The Royal Abduls:
A novel about the effects of 9/11 on an Indian-American family in Washington, D.C., The Royal Abduls tells the story of eleven-year-old Omar and his aunt Amina, an evolutionary biologist who moves near her brother’s family after years of working on the West Coast. As Omar tries on an exaggerated Indian accent to impress his schoolmates, Amina struggles to focus on her study of hybrid zones while working in a male-dominated lab. Omar cycles through outlets for his vast curiosity and gets in trouble at school. His parents’ disintegrating relationship leaves only independent, career-minded Amina to look out for him. Her hesitant romance with a Sikh cricket coach and bookstore owner blossoms as Omar’s parents decide to divorce. The Royal Abduls, a family drama about the lives of secular Muslims post-9/11, engages with the struggles of women in the workplace and the difficulties of maintaining relationships in a fragmented America.