Abe Fawal

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Ibrahim "Abe" Fawal (born 1933 in Ramallah, Palestine) is an educator and novelist.

Fawal spent his childhood in Palestine and fled during the "Nakba" (catastrophe) leading to the Arab-Isreali War of 1948. He moved to Birmingham in 1951 and earned his bachelor's degree at Birmingham-Southern College and a master's degree in film studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

While visiting his parents in Ramallah in 1960, Fawal met director David Lean and was hired to assist him in translating directions to Arab-speaking extras on the set of Lawrence of Arabia in the Jordanian desert. He was credited as a first assistant director on the film.

After returning to Birmingham, Fawal worked for 25 years as a professor of film and literature at the UAB and Birmingham-Southern. He moved to England in 1996 and began working on a biography of Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine for a Ph.D. dissertation. The work was published in 2002 by the British Film Institute and University of California Press.

Fawal also completed a novel, based on his own childhood experiences, called On the Hills of God. The book, published in 1998, won a PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and has been translated into Arabic, Indonesian and German.

Fawal, now retired, resides in Crestwood. His 2013 follow up novel, The Disinherited, is proposed as the middle volume in a "Palestine Trilogy".


  • Fawal, Ibrahim (1998) On the Hills of God. Montgomery: Black Belt Press ISBN 9781588382047
  • Fawal, Ibrahim (2002) Youssef Chahine. London: British Film Institute ISBN 9780851708591
  • Fawal, Ibrahim (2013) The Disinherited. Montgomery: NewSouth Books ISBN 9781588382597