In Alligator and Other Stories, Dima Alzayat captures luminously how it feels to be ‘other’: as a Syrian, as an Arab, as an immigrant, as a woman. Each story of the nine stories is a snapshot of those moments when unusual circumstances suddenly distinguish us from our neighbours, when our difference is thrown into relief.
Here are ‘dangerous’ women transgressing, missing children in 1970s New York, a family who were once Syrian but have now lost their name, and a young woman about to discover the hollowness of the American dream. At its centre lies ‘Alligator’: a remarkable compilation of real and invented sources, which rescues from history the story of a Syrian American couple who were murdered at the hands of the state.
Alzayat explores experiences that are startling and real, delivering an emotional punch that lingers long after reading.
Dima Alzayat was born in Damascus, Syria, grew up in San Jose, California, and now lives in Manchester. She was the winner of the 2019 ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award, a 2018 Northern Writers’ Award, the 2017 Bristol Short Story Prize and the 2015 Bernice Slote Award. She was runner-up in the 2018 Deborah Rogers Award and the 2018 Zoetrope: All-Story Competition, and was Highly Commended in the 2013 Bridport Prize. She is a Ph.D. student and associate lecturer at Lancaster University.
Read: Interview ~ Dima Alzayat on Alligator: stories of displacement, cultural myth and inter-generational trauma, The London Magazine
Review: Alligator, Publishers Weekly
Prompt: Scour today’s news headlines and pick 10 words or phrases. Write a 100-word story using one of these words or phrases per sentence.