SILVER Award Winner from the Nonfiction Authors Association for Best Nonfiction Book

Set against the backdrop of the early American presence in Iran under the Shah, and the burgeoning years of Kuwait’s early oil boom, Dancing into the Light is Kathryn Abdul-Baki’s memoir of growing up within both the expatriate Western communities and the larger Middle Eastern society of Kuwait and Jerusalem. Hers is a story of belonging to two vastly different cultures and finding her place within both, and the search to find the inherent harmony in worlds at odds with each other. She is already caught in both the joys of and the struggle to be both Arab and American, yet not fully either, when her young life of promise is disrupted by tragedy. But instead of derailing her life, her mother’s death opens the door to deeper love and support from other places within Kathryn’s family.

Dancing into the Light is a story of love, loss, and renewal, and of overcoming devastating early trauma through music, dancing, and the love and devotion of strong American and Arab women.


Praise for Dancing into the Light

Wonderfully written, with an amazingly detailed and sensual recall of childhood and adolescence of the two  poles–American and Arab. Such processes of loss and mourning and moving on are…universally resonant.

Wane Karlin, author of A Wolf by the Ears, winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction

A lively memoir that captures the happiness and confusion of being part of two cultures at once…celebratory and affecting.

Forward Reviews

Such a stirring story about grief…so fluid and lovely that it was a pleasure to read.

Virginia Hartman, author of The Marsh Queen

Richly described memoir…Abdul-Baki’s lucid prose and rich descriptions brings the surroundings and the people alive.