Having grown up on an island that some archaeologists believe to have been the biblical location of the Garden of Eden, I feel that there are thematic similarities between my own life, and that of my literary/religious counterparts. Like Adam and Eve, I have had to leave my home. Fortunately though, this is where this similarity ends, as I can return home for holidays and even eat apples without admonishment. Joking aside, I feel that growing up in the Middle East has substantially affected my outlook on life. Expatriated and displaced, questions of identity and culture are important to me.
After spending many of my formative years in Bahrain, I completed a BA in journalism, film & broadcasting. Following this I trained as an English teacher in Prague and then spent 9 months working in Sudan. My motivation for this was to work whilst attempting to learn Arabic. (Surprisingly the majority of expats who grow up in the Arabian Gulf never get taught/learn the language – monstrous I know). After an arduous yet entirely enjoyable time in Sudan I earned a scholarship to do a two years Master’s degree in Arab World Studies. The course involved a year of intensive Arabic study and a year of convential research training in Arab politics and culture. During the language portion of the course I was fortunate to spend 4 months at Damascus University, where I spent some time studying Arabic, and a lot of time eating falafel. I have recently been awarded my PhD in the study of political repression in Bahrain.
I am currently a teaching fellow at Tubingen University in Germany, where I lecture on Gulf Politics. I have also taught on the Middle East Politics Module at Durham, and have written a number of articles, chapters, and pieces on Bahrain, including in the Independent, the New Statesman, and CNN. I am also co-editor of Bahrain’s Uprising: Resistance Repression in the Gulf. (Zed Books, 2015).