You’ll likely find her sipping tea in a charming cafe or bistro hideaway.
She’ll be sitting next to the window with an eye to the outside world but careful to avoid drafty windows and unnecessary distractions. Except for the teacup which rattles gently when she places it back in the saucer, the only sound made is her scribbling pen as it etches our admiration inside the hearts and minds of those who read Yara Zgheib’s work.
It is with great delight that WomanScape shines a spotlight on Yara Zgheib. We celebrate her debut novel, The Girls of 17 Swann Street, as well as the woman behind this stirring narrative.
About the woman: she is unique, powerful, humble and brilliant. Yara was with us shortly after we launched our WomanScape, and her voice has helped to shape who we are.
The first thing you’ll notice when you read Yara’s articles is her unique style. It is at once poetic and masterful. Yara bends sentences like she’s dancing a beautiful waltz. She seems to twirl the commas and dips the punctuation, carefully steering the rhythms used and the phrases made.
Throughout her work, we watch as she pirouettes on a single word used to replace an entire sentence. Yara draws our attention to a singular point while inviting us to dig deeper into its meaning.
And her melodic words that sound so beautiful?
They are powerful and driven by a keen understanding of human nature. Yara’s personal blog site, Aristotle At Afternoon Tea exemplifies this truth and is filled with sophisticated conversations using poetic stanzas to meticulously convey her point.
In Monday’s article about Queen Elisabeth of Austria, Yara writes:
“At a time when mental illness was misunderstood and dismissed, when across the street from the palace, Freud was still fumbling in the darkness, the Empress of Austria took control of the only aspect of her life that was solely hers: her body.”
Yara loves sharing her essays and says the name of her website is “inspired by the title of an essay written by Oscar Wilde. (In it), he discusses the art of elevating conversation.” Like Oscar, Yara’s conversations cover a wide range of subjects from art and history to culture and politics. They are about life, over what else? Tea.
A master of four languages with a Doctorate of International Relations also explains Yara’s ability to fully capture what words mean and how to harness their energy flows. Yara is also a Fulbright Scholar with freelance articles published in Huffington and various other magazines.
But perhaps the most compelling qualities beyond Yara’s writing are manifest in her immense compassion for others and her insight into our human condition. This comes from many places and experiences. It’s also driven by her love of learning and a sense of adventure.
Yara loves to travel and spent her early life in Lebanon. She has lived in Glasgow, Washington, Paris, Saint Louis, and now Boston. Admittedly, she says this “exposure to other cultures and beauty and different points of view, has (pushed her) to constantly question (her)self and discover aspects of (her) personality (she) did not know existed.”
We see this as Yara shares afternoon tea with Aristotle (her website conversations). Yara’s love of reading and writing has helped her to see that good ideas matter and “by exchanging ideas, we grow and connect with others. We are exposed to different perspectives that broaden our horizons and make us kinder, more understanding and happier people.”
Yara is a champion for social justice and democratic ideals. Having obtained a Masters Degree in Security from Georgetown University followed by a Ph.D. in International Affairs and Diplomacy at the Centre D’études Diplomatiques et Stratégiques of the Hautes Ecoles Politiques de Paris, Yara is an advocate of conflict resolution and an expert in counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism.
Photo credit: Initiatives of Change (Note: Yara is pictured left of center in a black dress and red lanyard at a peace conference in Switzerland.)
There’s a passage that Yara shared with me for this interview. Its raw honesty is why Yara will grow beyond the beautiful articles she writes and readers will clamor for more books written by her.
Yara speaks from her heart and a place many of us never go – but you’ll have to return for the second part of this review to hear what Yara has to say. See you tomorrow for more on Yara Zgheib, her favorite things and the book that just might change the world, The Girls of 17 Swann Street.