April 18, 2012

House nominates resolution honoring Ameen Rihani and The Book of Khalid


The Book of Khalid has a fascinating and important history starting with its place as the first Arab-American novel. Ameen Rihani’s sojourning tale of turn-of-the-century life in New York captures an important and overlooked place in American history.

Innovative in form and important in subject, this long unavailable book is being published in the Neversink Library in June of this year. This all coincides with the 100th anniversary of the publication of the novel. Because of the novel’s centennial and its important role in the history of the country, two members of the House of Representatives have put forth a resolution to honor The Book of Khalid and we’d love your support getting it passed.

Below is a selection from the press release issued by American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, or ADC.


Support House Resolution honoring Ameen Rihani


Just recently, Representatives Nick Rahall (D-West Virginia) and Charles Boustany (R-Louisiana) introduced a bipartisan resolution honoring the life of Arab American writer Ameen Rihani (1876-1940) and celebrating 100 years of the Arab American novel. The resolution elaborates Rihani’s role in educating the American public about the Arab world at the turn of the century and describes his vision of a cooperative relationship between Arabs and Americans that emerged after his travels through the Arabian Peninsula in the 1920’s.

Rihani’s 1911 novel, The Book of Khalid, tells an extraordinary story of migration from Baalbek, Lebanon to the “Washington Street” neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. Rihani’s life story and his literature offer us the ability to communicate our shared story to the American public with the same persistent spirit through which Rihani dedicated his life to bridging nations, religions, and cultures.

TAKE ACTION! Call and ask your representative to co-sponsor House Resolution 608, introduced by Rep. Rahall.

Useful Links

Find the number for your member of Congress

For the text of the resolution and here for more information about Ameen Rihani’s life:

Honoring the life and work of Arab-American writer Ameen Rihani and celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of the first Arab-American novel, The Book of Khalid, by Ameen Rihani

Text of H. RES. 608

Project Khalid – The 100th Anniversary of the First Arab-American Novel

Encyclopædia Britannica: Ameen Rihani

Another great resource is the site maintained by Todd Fine, founder and director of Project Khalid and author of the Introduction in our forthcoming edition of The Book of Khalid.

Paul Oliver is the marketing manager of Melville House. Previously he was co-owner of Wolfgang Books in Philadelphia.