Naomi Shihab Nye

Ha Lam

Naomi Shihab Nye

Past Event: Thursday, September 19, 2019

At Town Hall Seattle

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Internationally beloved poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s latest collection, The Tiny Journalist, is a collection inspired by seven-year-old Janna Tamimi, the “Youngest Journalist in Palestine,” who captured videos of anti-occupation protests with her mother’s smartphone.

Nye—who last appeared in SAL’s  2008/09 Poetry Series—was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to a Palestinian refugee father and a mother of northern European descent. She spent her teenage years in Jerusalem and San Antonio, Texas. Her multifaceted definition of home shines through her writing, which often focuses on honoring heritage and finding new spaces to grow. Her time spent traveling through Europe, Asia, and the Americas brings the rich perspective of someone who has learned, experienced, and understood different cultures into each of her creative endeavors—someone, in short, who is in love with the world.

Nye published her first work at the age of seven and hasn’t put her pen down since. She has written more than ten poetry collections, three novels, and has appeared in numerous anthologies. Her full-length collections of poetry include Different Ways to Pray (1980), Hugging the Jukebox (1982), Yellow Glove (1986), Fuel (1998), 19 Varieties of the Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), You and Yours (2005), Transfer (2011), and Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners (2018).

Nye now makes her permanent home in San Antonio, Texas, where she has long been growing roots. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Trinity University in San Antonio and has worked as the poetry editor of the Texas Observer for the past 20 years. Along with intermitted teaching at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, she is also a professor of creative writing at Texas State University.

Nye is the recipient of four Pushcart prizes, the Voertman Poetry Prize, the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Isabel Gardner Poetry Award, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature, and the Robert Creeley Award.

Her young adult novel, The Turtle of Oman, was named a Best Book of 2014 by The Horn Book and a 2015 Notable Children’s Book by the American Library Association. Honeybee, her collection of poems for young adults, won the 2008 Arab American Book Award in the Children’s/Young Adult category.

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, our Q&A moderator for Nye’s event, is a poet, essayist, and translator. Her first book, Water & Salt (Red Hen Press), won the 2018 Washington State Book Award for Poetry. Her first chapbook, Arab in Newsland, won the 2016 Two Sylvias Press Prize. Her forthcoming chapbook, Letters from the Interior, will be published this fall. In 2017-18, she served as inaugural Poet-in-Residence at Open Books: A Poem Emporium in Seattle.

Event Details

Town Hall Seattle

1119 8th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Know Before You Go

Don't have your tickets?

Most tickets have been emailed, so be sure to check your inbox for an email from Call us at 206-621-2230 x10 if you can’t find them.

Have a question for the speaker?

Want to ask Naomi Shihab Nye something? Send your question to SAL’s Associate Director at—it might be asked onstage! Local poet Lena Khalaf Tuffaha will be moderating the Q&A for Nye’s event.


Open Books will have copies of Nye’s work, including The Tiny Journalist, available for purchase at their table in the hall.

The event will conclude with a book signing.


Open Captioning is an option for people who have hearing losses, where a captioning screen displaying the words that are spoken or sung is placed on stage. To make a request for open captioning, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10. Please note: for events at Town Hall Seattle, we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure captioning services.

Assisted Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that people with hearing loss use in conjunction with their hearing device (hearing aids or cochlear implants). Town Hall Seattle has a hearing loop system, so you can switch your T-coil hearing aid to telecoil to have the stage’s microphones transmitted directly to your hearing aids. To pick up a headset, check in with any Town Hall usher when you arrive.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals. To make a request for ASL interpretation, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at Town Hall Seattle, which is fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. Guide and service dogs are also welcome. Town Hall Seattle recommends that visitors use the 8th Avenue Entrance for events in the Great Hall, and elevators with Braille signage go to all levels within the Hall. The venue has 18 all-gender restrooms, as well as ADA-accessible restrooms on the lobby and Forum level. For more details on accessibility features, click here.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services at our venues, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive. Our Patron Services Manager is available at, or Monday-Thursday from 10:00am – 5:00pm, and Fridays from 10:00am – 1:00pm, at 206.621.2230×10.


Poetry Series Sponsor
Charles B. & Barbara Wright