Patricia Dunn’s debut novel Rebels By Accident (Aug. 16, 2012, Alikai Press) tells a story of revolution. “Not just the huge ones that happen on the streets with thousands marching,” Dunn said. “The kind that happens inside us all as we grow and change and figure out who we are in this world.”
Rebels By Accidents features an Egyptian-American teen in our post 9-11 world so disconnected from her culture, she secretly believes she comes from a backward country where people still travel by camel and women walk six steps behind the men. After her first high school party ends in jail, she is sent to live with her grandmother in Cairo. While there, she witnesses a political revolution led by young men and women who use Facebook to organize protests to overthrow their corrupt government. In Tahrir Square, surrounded by thousands of protestors, Mariam finally embraces what it means to be American and Egyptian.
“Patricia Dunn draws us into the richly detailed and often humorous world of sixteen-year-old Arab-American Mariam’s quest for love and adventure on the revolutionary streets of an Egypt rising to take her place on the world stage during the Arab Spring. Mariam shows us that sometimes a moment is all that is needed to embrace and truly become the brave young woman who was waiting within all along,” said Ayesha Mattu, editor and author of Love INshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women.
Dunn has seen and felt the ignorance people have about her faith and family background. Her own son, an Egyptian-Muslim-American, was bullied on a bus ride home from school, hit in the back of the head and told, “All you Muslims should go back where you came from.” Dunn couldn’t find any books for teens with positive Muslim role models, so she decided to write one.
Dunn was the managing editor of Muslimwakeup.com, America’s most popular Muslim online magazine from 2003-2008. She has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College where she also teaches. Her writing has appeared in Global City Review, where she edited the post-9-11 International Issue. Salon.com, Women’s eNews, The Christian Science Monitor, The Village Voice, The Nation, L.A. Weekly and other publications have featured her writing. Her work is anthologized in Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies, from Kent State University Press (2006); Progressive Muslim Identities: Personal Stories From the U.S. and Canada, Muslim Progressive Values; and most recently in the bestselling anthology Love, InshAllah, Soft Skull Press. She is featured on WISE Muslim Women.
Dunn was raised in the Bronx, became a political activist while living in Los Angeles, has traveled throughout the Middle East, and lived in Jordan and Egypt before settling back down in New York where she lives with her teenage son and her toddler dog.