Writers seek inspiration at One Community, Many Voices conference – The Daily Tribune

“Healing Wisdom for a Wounded World” is one of author Weam Namou’s books.

“Healing Wisdom for a Wounded World” is one of author Weam Namou’s books.
Hermiz Publishing Inc.

If you go

• Detroit Working Writers’ “One Community, Many Voices” conference

• Sept. 16.

• Michigan State University Management Education Center, 811 W. Square Lake, Troy.

• Tickets $85 for members, $155 for nonmembers.

• Keynote Speaker Weam Namou, workshops.

• detworkingwriters.org/conference.

• weamnamou.com.

• bit.ly/2wJNLze

Author Weam Namou believes writing can save your life — and the planet. Whether penning a novel, a poem, a political truth or a memoir, her clear narrative speaks with honesty, sensuality, family, food and spice.

She earned this voice travelling from her birth place in Baghdad, Iraq, to Shelby Township, and a sky full of points in between: Morocco, Prague, New Orleans and Paris, for a day. Then she made a spiritual quest to the American West and became a shaman.

An award-winning author of 12 books, her “The Great American Family: A Story of Political Disenchantment,” won a 2017 Eric Hoffer Book Award. She received a lifetime achievement award from E’Rootha in 2012. In addition to her traditional degrees, Namou studied Sikkim/Secheim from a Native American man who lived with Tibetan monks. In addition, she is a certified reiki master and graduate of Lynn Andrews four-year shamanic school, Center for Sacred Arts and Training.

Namou will keynote the Detroit Working Writers conference “One Community, Many Voices” on Saturday, Sept. 16. She spoke about her work with Digital First Media.

Q: Writers say “writing found us.” When did you know you were a writer?

A: When I was in high school, I made a list of what I wanted to accomplish by age 30: Publishing a book. At 19, in Puerto Rico, on an evening stroll near the ocean, I looked deep into the water and decided with definiteness that I would write books. It was a calling.

Q: There is added richness in your bilingual writing. As a Chaldean, a Christian Iraqi, when could you speak and write in English?

A: I speak Neo-Aramaic, Arabic and English. When I arrived to the United States, I was 10 years old. The only words I knew were “yes” and “no.” I learned English quickly watching television and through my wonderful bilingual teacher.

Q: Your work is so spirited — it’s humorous, insightful, spiritual, self-reflective.

A: Since my early 20s, my priorities are family, writing and service. I suppose this caused me to attract spiritual people and experiences, which I later translated through stories. My writing springs from a rich Babylonian heritage, a long line of healers, studies with spiritual masters and my travels. Humor keeps me grounded, so as not to take myself or life too seriously.

Q: What are you reading now?

A: I love memoirs. The power of the real human spirit fascinates me. I just read Susan Boyle’s biography. All odds were stacked against her, her family told her not to go audition, that she’d be a laughingstock if she did, but she went anyway. She inspired many to accept themselves and pursue their dreams. Literary favorites include “Gone with the Wind,” the first novel I read in Arabic at the age of 9.

Q: How about your editing process?

A: By having tough editors, including my former New York agent and those who worked for St. Martin Press, Penguin and Random House, IÂ’ve learned not to be afraid of editing out what doesnÂ’t serve the story. Yet the author must also trust (her) intuition. ThereÂ’s a fine line between the two.

• If you go: Detroit Working Writers presents the all-day conference “One Community, Many Voices,” Sept. 16 at the Michigan State University Management Education Center, 811 W. Square Lake, Troy. Tickets are $85 for DWW Members, $155 for nonmembers, including a continental breakfast and lunch, keynote speaker Weam Namou plus workshops. Information at detworkingwriters.org/conference, tickets at bit.ly/2wJNLze


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