Size / / /

Aya Ghanameh is a Palestinian writer and illustrator. She is based in Providence, Rhode Island, where she is earning her BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design with a concentration in Literary Arts and Studies. You can find her work and contact information at

Aya provided the illustration for the March 29 story “Native Country” by Karim Kattan.

“Wafa” © 2020 by Aya Ghanameh

When I found your work, I got particularly captivated by the preview pages of Wafa. Can you tell us a little bit about this graphic novel project of yours?

I can tell a little bit, yes! It started out as a short comic assignment for a class, and ever since I’ve been in the process of expanding it into a full-length graphic novel. In my work lately I’ve been trying to move from Palestine as an object to Palestinians themselves as a subject, and this comic is no different. It’s set in the early 2000s between Nablus, Palestine, and Amman, Jordan, and follows my family through the Second Intifada. In expanding it, it will also explore my grandmother’s story, and how she got to where she is now. I think when people think about Palestine, we often think about it through lenses of nationalism and as a place caught in a never-ending struggle. I want to amplify the stories of the ordinary Palestinian.


You seem to use a varied array of mediums for your art. Which one is your favorite, and what is your usual process with illustrations?

“My Teta's Garden” © 2020 by Aya Ghanameh

Over the past year I’ve really started to use digital tools a lot more, mostly for accessibility reasons, and I purchased an iPad—Procreate is so fun! There’s a wide variety of brushes and textures I’ve really enjoyed playing with, and the digital tools have really helped me gain more confidence with using color as I struggled a lot with that before. Traditionally, I like pen and ink, pencils, watercolors, and oil paint. I usually start by making super rough sketches, and I take those and digitally expand them into the actual size I’m working in. From there I make super detailed value sketches in black and white, and work on top of those with color. It helps me with consistency and figuring out the composition and layout early on.


Which other Palestinian artists inspire you? From any media: visual art, music, writers, etc.

I learn a lot from Leila Abdelrazaq’s creative work because she’s constantly exploring how her words intersecting with her art—a lot of which taps into magical realism—can depict issues related to diaspora, refugeehood, history, memory, and borders in ways that I think successfully resonate with an audience that can and cannot relate in their own experiences. Especially inspired by her graphic novel, Baddawi, about her father’s life growing up in the Baddawi refugee camp in Lebanon. I also love the revolutionary artists of the last generation—Ghassan Kanafani, Naji Al-Ali, Fadwa Touqan, Mahmoud Darwish, etc.


“Room View in Quarantine” © 2020 by Aya Ghanameh

You also do children's illustrations. How is working with art for children?

Yes! As someone particularly invested in inclusivity and intersectionality, I am constantly exploring how my community organizing and artwork can center the voices of ordinary people, and I’ve found this in the intersections of picture and word, and specifically in communicating these ideas through picture books. Children need to see themselves represented, and liberation needs imagination—picture books are great for this.


What does the future hold for your work?

I’m a graduating senior of the Rhode Island School of Design, so this has been the question on my mind throughout the academic year! I would love to go into publishing as a career and continue to work on books in my own time. Children’s picture books, graphic novels, comics, and otherwise. I am as much a writer as I am a designer, and I actually recently signed with Ayesha Pande, a literary agency!

Dante Luiz is an illustrator, art director for Strange Horizons, and occasional writer from southern Brazil. He is the interior artist for Crema (comiXology/Dark Horse), and his work with comics has also appeared in anthologies, like Wayward Kindred, Mañana, and Shout Out, among others. Find him on Twitter or his website.
Current Issue
30 Jan 2023

In January 2022, the reviews department at Strange Horizons, led at the time by Maureen Kincaid Speller, published our first special issue with a focus on SF criticism. We were incredibly proud of this issue, and heartened by how many people seemed to feel, with us, that criticism of the kind we publish was important; that it was creative, transformative, worthwhile. We’d been editing the reviews section for a few years at this point, and the process of putting together this special, and the reception it got, felt like a kind of renewal—a reminder of why we cared so much.
It is probably impossible to understand how transformative all of this could be unless you have actually been on the receiving end.
Some of our reviewers offer recollections of Maureen Kincaid Speller.
Criticism was equally an extension of Maureen’s generosity. She not only made space for the text, listening and responding to its own otherness, but she also made space for her readers. Each review was an invitation, a gift to inquire further, to think more deeply and more sensitively about what it is we do when we read.
When I first told Maureen Kincaid Speller that A Closed and Common Orbit was among my favourite current works of science fiction she did not agree with me. Five years later, I'm trying to work out how I came to that perspective myself.
Cloud Atlas can be expressed as ABC[P]YZY[P]CBA. The Actual Star , however, would be depicted as A[P]ZA[P]ZA[P]Z (and so on).
In the vast traditions that inspire SF worldbuilding, what will be reclaimed and reinvented, and what will be discarded? How do narratives on the periphery speak to and interact with each other in their local contexts, rather than in opposition to the dominant structures of white Western hegemonic culture? What dynamics and possibilities are revealed in the repositioning of these narratives?
a ghostly airship / sorting and discarding to a pattern that isn’t available to those who are part of it / now attempting to deal with the utterly unknowable
Most likely you’d have questioned the premise, / done it well and kindly then moved on
In this special episode of Critical Friends, the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, reviews editors Aisha Subramanian and Dan Hartland introduce audio from a 2018 recording for Jonah Sutton-Morse’s podcast Cabbages and Kings which included Maureen Kincaid Speller discussing with Aisha and Jonah three books: Everfair by Nisi Shawl, Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan, and The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar.
Issue 23 Jan 2023
Issue 16 Jan 2023
Issue 9 Jan 2023
Strange Horizons
2 Jan 2023
Welcome, fellow walkers of the jianghu.
Issue 2 Jan 2023
Strange Horizons
Issue 19 Dec 2022
Issue 12 Dec 2022
Issue 5 Dec 2022
Issue 28 Nov 2022
By: RiverFlow
Translated by: Emily Jin
Issue 21 Nov 2022
Load More
%d bloggers like this: