Layla AlAmmar Recommends...

“There are many avenues I turn to when I’m stuck in my writing—music, Edgar Allan Poe, the work of Gustave Doré, going for a long walk by whatever body of water I can find—but my main inspiration comes from immersing myself in mythology. Whether Greek or Babylonian or Norse or those of South America, or the (closer to home) pre-Islamic mythology of the jinn, clawing my way back into the deep recesses of human consciousness has always comforted me. My go-to is Joseph Campbell. If you’ve never seen The Power of Myth series of interviews he did with Bill Moyers in the mid-eighties, then you’re in for a treat. Aside from having a very soothing manner and holistic worldview, his research sheds light on the most fundamental connection we have as human beings: the stories we tell. His work on comparative mythology and the role of myth in our lives never fails to help me move beyond the specific issues I’m working through and to take the superlong view of human existence, how we are implicated in each other at the deepest level.”
—Layla AlAmmar, author of Silence Is a Sense (Algonquin Books, 2021)