WILLOW WILSON / The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman's Journey to Love and Islam
Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 7:30pm
Twenty-seven-year-old G. Willow Wilson has already
established herself as an accomplished writer on modern religion and the Middle East in publications such as The Atlantic Monthly and The
New York Times Magazine. In her memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, she tells her remarkable story of converting
to Islam and falling in love with an Egyptian man in a turbulent post–9/11
When Willow leaves her
atheist parents in Denver to study at BostonUniversity,
she enrolls in an Islamic Studies course, hopeful that it will help her to
understand her inchoate spirituality. As she reads through the teachings and
events of the Quran, Willow is astounded and comforted by how deeply this
fourteen-hundred-year-old document speaks to who she is, and decides to risk
everything to convert to Islam and embark on a fated journey across continents
and into an uncertain future.
She settles in Cairo
where she teaches English and attempts to submerge herself in a culture based
on her adopted religion. And then she meets Omar, a passionate young man with a
mild resentment of the Western influences in his homeland. They fall in love,
entering into a daring relationship that calls into question the very nature of
family, belief, and tradition. Torn between the secular West and Muslim East, Willow -- identifiably
Western with her shock of red hair, shaky Arabic, and candor -- records her
intensely personal struggle to forge a “third culture” that might accommodate
her own values without compromising them or the friends and family on both
sides of the divide.
Part travelogue, love story, and memoir, The Butterfly
Mosque is a brave, inspiring story of faith -- in God, in each
other, in ourselves, and in the ability of relationships to transcend cultural
barriers and exist above the evils that threaten to keep us apart.
Wilson was born in New Jersey in 1982 and
raised in Colorado.
Shortly after graduating from BostonUniversity, Willow
moved to Cairo,
where she converted to Islam. She divides her time between Cairo
and Seattle. Wilson is also the author of the graphic novel Cairo.