Suad Amiry: The Storyteller

Suad Amiry entertained her audience during her live book performance at The James Gallery on February 18, 2016. A natural talent in the art of narrative storytelling, Suad Amiry incorporates interesting techniques and methods in her narrative stories by incorporating style expressions with point of views, bringing flashbacks, and voice intonations combined with humor. Amiry simply takes the listener’s hand and enter’s into the world of the author’s imagination.

Suad Amiry is an architect – humorist – scholar, from Jaffa, and one of the most interesting people I met in New York City. Amiry creates a sense of originality and simple authenticity to her style and dialogue. In addition, Amiry uses comedy as an interesting and unique vision to narrate her stories. Amiry has a dream, to become a Hakawati – A story teller – A person who gathers listeners and narrates stories in public spaces, by taking the listener on an imaginary journey. The atmosphere was light, Suad Amiry did a superb job making her audience laugh, gasp and sigh through her stories and struggles of curfews and checkpoints in Ramallah, Palestine.

Amiry has the ability to shift heated political situations to common humor mixed with daily nuances of grocery shopping and lifted curfews in Ramallah. She definitely makes a few politically incorrect and funny jokes which fit her story well. The title of Amiry’s book performance is “a one man’s show”, a continued work in progress. Her childhood dream of becoming a Hakawati was dismissed by Suad’s mother. In an Arab family, a child grows to become a famous profession like: an Architect, Physician, or Lawyer. As prescribed, Suad Amiry became an Architect. Married and unhappy, Suad began narrating stories to her workers of her imaginary kids just to shut them up. Her storytelling carries humor and satire. Suad Amiry succeeds in restoring political humor to her narrative.

Suad Amiry writes Nothing Makes Sense, Why Should I? The only solution to survive the occupation is humor. Suad realizes that making fun of the political situation is the best means of survival without going mad. In other words, the best mechanism to go through life is laughing through its hardships.


Suad leads the first event of  “One Book, Many Communities” project, coordinated by Librarians and Archivists with Palestine (LAP) group, a book club that believes in no boundaries nor borders. The initiatives of the project is to bring local communities together to read and discuss a shared book. The program creates a sense of empowerment through collective reading, providing strength and unity to the readers.

Unintentionally, Suad Amiry became an author at the age of 55 creating Sharon and My Mother In Law.  She gives thanks to both Ariel Sharon, ex-prime Minister of Israel, and Suad Amiry’s mother in law. Both figures play a huge role in Suad’s storytelling of the occupation. As Sharon occupied the land and Suad’s mother in law occupied her home which drives Suad insane.

The funniest story Suad narrated was The Dog’s Passport, when she took her dog to an Israeli veterinarian, Doctor Tamar. After the checkup, the vet asks Suad “Do you have a photograph of the dog?” “Why?” Suad asks. The vet continues, “to issue the dog a passport!” a dream of 3.5 million Palestinians. A very funny story of a dog who will guarantee Amiry a trip around Palestine because the dog is the only proprietor of a passport in this situation.  You can watch Suad Amiry’s talk on TEDxRamallah – My work, My Hobby.

At the end of her architectural journey, Amiry finally becomes a storyteller, as she always dreamed of. In 2016, she is touring in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and the Middle East. Shining as ever, Suad decides to universalize the passion of true story-telling, to liberate oneself, to become one big family, with no borders, no boundaries, and just laughter.

It felt so personal to finally meet someone with such great spirits in a highly engaging form of storytelling. Suad Amiry ends with this note: “I have the future still waiting for me. I may be an actor, I might be an opera singer, and I am going to celebrate with you my birthday.”

 “I want you to take sixty seconds and think of your life of what you’re doing and are you really doing what you love in life.” – Suad Amiry.

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