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 world.


When Willow leaves her atheist parents in Denver to study at Boston University, 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.


Willow Wilson was born in New Jersey in 1982 and raised in Colorado. Shortly after graduating from Boston University, 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.



The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman's Journey to Love and Islam Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9780802118875
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - June 2010

Cairo Cover Image
By G. Willow Wilson, M. K. Perker (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781401217341
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Vertigo - October 7th, 2008