Susanne Abou Ghaida

Young Adult Literature, Disability, Fairy tales, Arabic literature, Picturebooks

Research title

Life’s Longing for Itself: Growing Up in the Arabic Young Adult Novel

Research summary

Young Adult Literature, Disability, Fairy tales, Arabic literature, Picturebooks

My doctoral research revolves around Arabic literature for adolescents or literature written originally in Arabic and marketed for young Arabs aged 12 and above. It will tackle the three sides of the producers (authors/publishers)-text-reader triangle and will attempt to answer the following research questions:

RQ1: What concepts of adolescence and fiction for adolescents have guided the Arabic children’s publishing industry both historically and in the present?

RQ2: What are the main commercial, institutional and ideological considerations that structure, and sometimes constrain, Arab publishing for adolescents?

RQ3: How does Arabic fiction for adolescents portray the relationship between young people and the social institutions that they exist within?

RQ4: How do authors and publishers negotiate the restrictions on the content of adolescent fiction while still managing to tackle issues such as love, sexuality, gender roles and politics?

RQ5: What are the meanings that young readers make from these novels concerning adolescence, growing up and young people’s position in society?


-“Oral Histories of Ras Beirut: Nostalgia, Memory and the Construction of History”, Journal of the Mediterranean 15.2 (2005), co-authored with Alia Al-Zougbi

-“Gender and Cultural Creation” chapter in Culture and Communication – Key Factors for Changing Mentalities and Societies, background document prepared by the Anna Lindh Foundation Secretariat for the Euromed Ministerial Conference on Equality of Opportunities, co-authored with Eleonora Insalaco

-“In the world but not of it: Disability and belonging in Arabic children’s literature on disability”, eSharp 24: Belonging and Inclusion (Spring 2016)

Additional information

I have a BA and an MA in Sociology from the American University of Beirut. Since 1998, I have worked in a variety of fields including youth, intangible heritage, cultural cooperation, education and, most recently, children’s literature. From 2010 to 2011, I was the coordinator of the Arab Regional Children’s Literature programme implemented in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine before moving on to become the Planning and Development Manager at the United Arab Emirates national section of IBBY (UAEBBY). I completed a second MA in Children’s Literature at the Roehampton University in 2014. Before starting my doctoral research at Glasgow University, I worked with ASSABIL, an NGO that works to promote reading, in particular through the establishment, promotion and support of public libraries in Lebanon.