About

Sleiman El Hajj

Assistant Professor of Creative and Journalistic Writing

Dr. Sleiman El Hajj is an assistant professor of creative and journalistic writing in the Department of Communication, Arts and Languages (CAL) at LAU Beirut and represents the CAL Department in the Faculty Senate. In recognition of his work in Life Writing scholarship, Dr. El Hajj was awarded the Faculty Research Excellence Award 2022-2023.

Dr. El Hajj is credited with restructuring and redesigning the Creative Writing track in the BA English at LAU. Given the abundance of cultural ills – the corruption, insecurities and hardships that hinder daily life in Lebanon – illness as a research-shaping trope in literary, cultural and social studies is all the more pressing and pertinent, especially so in the aftermath of the August 4, 2020 explosion and its long-lasting impact on mental and physical health alike. In the absence of offerings in the LAU curriculum that foreground illness – both cultural and somatic – and in light of developments in narrative medicine and the medical humanities, Dr. El Hajj’s latest curricular development, after Life Writing, is an interdisciplinary course in Illness Writing, which invites students to craft a spectrum of narratives exploring the intersection between physical/medical and cultural/social ills.

El Hajj has conducted qualitative, life and illness writing and research in the Lebanese context, authoring over 15 publications in top-refereed journals since joining LAU in Fall 2018. He has been appointed to visiting research fellowships at the University of Oxford and is the editor of a topical volume of autobiographical, autoethnographic illness narratives, entitled Lebano-Pathography: Converging Pathologies and Lived Narratives Since August 4, 2020 – a book-length intervention published in 2023 by Routledge, providing an analytical frame that combines medical pathologies with cultural practice through which illness narratives in Lebanon may be read.

Research Interests

Dr. El Hajj’s research interests include creative nonfiction, gender studies, narrative constructions of home, queer theory and Middle Eastern literature. He is a dedicated advocate of Creative Writing as a sturdy form of scholarship that can impact lives inside and outside the classroom.

Selected Publications

  1. E‌l Hajj, Sleiman. “Narrating Sexual Blackmail in Lebanon: A Present-Day Pathography.” Life Writing, vol. 20, no. 4, 27 Sept. 2023, pp. 659–671, https://doi.org/10.1080/14484528.2023.2259156.
  2. E‌l Hajj, Sleiman. “Theorising Lebano-Pathography: A Biographical Exploration of Medical-Cultural Pathologies.” Life Writing, vol. 20, no. 4, 27 Sept. 2023, pp. 643–656, https://doi.org/10.1080/14484528.2023.2259158.
  3. E‌l Hajj, Sleiman. “Autobiography Matters: On Swallowing Kerosene and School Bullying in Lebanon.” New Writing, 23 Aug. 2022, pp. 1–14, https://doi.org/10.1080/14790726.2022.2098342.
  4. El Hajj, Sleiman. “Female Homosexuality and (Non)Performativity in the 21st-C. Syrian Novel: Queerness As/at Home in Samar Yazbek’s Ra’ihat Al-Qirfa (2008)/Cinnamon (2012).” Journal of Homosexuality, 15 Mar. 2022, pp. 1–22, https://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2022.2048166.
  5. ‌‌El Hajj, Sleiman. “Reclaiming Arab Queerness, Debunking White Saviors: This Arab Is Queer, an Anthology by LGBTQ+ Arab Writers.” Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 6 Mar. 2023, pp. 1–4, https://doi.org/10.1080/17449855.2023.2179496.
  6. ‌El Hajj, Sleiman. “Queer Bodies Converse: Teaching Creative Writing in Lebanon.” English in Education, 26 July 2022, pp. 1–2, https://doi.org/10.1080/04250494.2022.2100758.
  7. ‌El Hajj, Sleiman. “Biographical Writing as Ethnography: The Journey of a Malagasy Worker in Beirut.” Biography, vol. 45, no. 3, 1 Jan. 2022, pp. 297–316, https://doi.org/10.1353/bio.2022.0038.
  8. ‌El Hajj, Sleiman. “Golgotha, Beirut: A Feminist Memoir of the Port Blast.” Journal of International Women’s Studies, vol. 24, no. 1, 31 May 2022, vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss1/24
  9. ‌El Hajj, Sleiman. “Incestuous: A Childhood Memoir in Verse.” Journal of International Women’s Studies, vol. 23, no. 1, 7 Feb. 2022, pp. 396–401396, vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol23/iss1/22
  10. ‌El Hajj, Sleiman. “Illness Writing and Revolution, Converging Narratives: The Year in Lebanon.” Biography, vol. 44, no. 1, 2021, pp. 98–105, https://doi.org/10.1353/bio.2021.0016
  11. ‌El Hajj, Sleiman. “Writing (From) the Rubble: Reflections on the August 4, 2020 Explosion in Beirut, Lebanon.” Life Writing, 26 Oct. 2020, pp. 1–17, https://doi.org/10.1080/14484528.2020.1830736
  12. ‌El Hajj, Sleiman. “Voices against Disavowal, Obscurantism, and Exclusion: The Year in Lebanon.” Biography, vol. 43, no. 1, 2020, pp. 121–129, https://doi.org/10.1353/bio.2020.0019
  13. ‌El Hajj, Sleiman. “Archiving the Political, Narrating the Personal: The Year in Lebanon.” Biography, vol. 42, no. 1, 2019, pp. 84–91, https://doi.org/10.1353/bio.2019.0013.
  14. ‌El Hajj, Sleiman. “Rewriting Home: A Life Writing Study in Post-Postwar Lebanon.” Life Writing, vol. 15, no. 2, 10 Nov. 2017, pp. 255–272, https://doi.org/10.1080/14484528.2017.1396525

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Creative Writing, University of Gloucestershire (2017).
  • Advanced Creative Writing Summer School, Exeter College, University of Oxford (2014).
  • MA in American Literature, American University of Beirut (2008).
  • BA in English Literature; Minor in American Studies, American University of Beirut (2006).
  • BS in Biology, American University of Beirut (2004).