Lesley Hazleton

Sponsored by The Esufally Family Foundation

FGLF Author Sponsor - Esufally Family Foundation

We are delighted to welcome Lesley Hazleton to the 2017 Fairway Galle Literary Festival.

FGLF 2017 Author - Lesley Hazleton

Lesley Hazleton, is an acclaimed writer who has published numerous award-winning books, examining various aspects of the Middle East region’s religious history and roots of conflict.

She describes herself as “a psychologist by training, a Middle East reporter by experience, an agnostic fascinated by the vast and often terrifying arena in which politics and religion intersect.”

Lesley spent thirteen years in the Middle East as a Jerusalem-based foreign correspondent, reporting for the New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Harper’s, The Nation, and several other publications.

Hazleton is also a frequent TED speaker and casts “an agnostic eye on politics, religion, and existence” on her blog: AccidentalTheologist.com.

Lesley Hazleton’s books include: ‘Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography‘ (Winner: 2005 Washington Book Award); ‘Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible’s Harlot Queen‘ (Finalist: 2008 Washington Book Award); ‘After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split‘ (Finalist: 2010 PEN-USA book award); ‘The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad‘ (2013, New York Times Editors’ Choice) and ‘Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto‘ (2016, New York Times Editors’ Choice).

The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad by FGLF 2017 participant Lesley Hazleton

In her book, ‘The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad’ (published 2013), Lesley Hazleton follows the arc of Prophet Muhammad’s rise from powerlessness to power, from anonymity to renown, from insignificance to lasting significance.

How did a “doubly orphaned” child, shunted to the margins, end up revolutionizing his world? How did the marginalized outsider become the ultimate insider?

Lesley discusses writing about “one the most influential figures of all time, a man who radically changed his world, and is still changing ours”, with host Terry Tazioli on ‘Well Read’:

Lesley Hazleton’s previous book about Islam, ‘After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam’ (published 2009), is a gripping narrative history of long-ago events depicting the rift that originated after the Prophet Muhammad passed away in the city of Medina on June 8, 632, without appointing a successor, which led to one of Islam’s major dilemmas – the political division between Shi‘ites and Sunnis – a rift that dominates the news now more than ever.

After the Prophet by FGFL 2017 participant Lesley Hazleton

Following the release of ‘After the Prophet’, Lesley Hazleton gave a talk at TEDxRainier in 2010, describing her study of the actual source material and reading the Koran, in preparation for her writing of ‘The First Muslim’. This video, which addresses the more egregious myths about the Koran, quickly went viral, suggesting that audiences responded positively to her candid approach.

Her latest book, ‘Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto,’ was a Publishers Weekly most-anticipated book of spring 2016 and celebrates the agnostic stance as “rising above the flat two-dimensional line of belief/unbelief, creating new possibilities for how we think about being in the world.”

Agnostic: A Spirited Manifesto by Lesley Hezleton - FGLF 2017

In it, Lesley explores what we mean by “the search for meaning”, invokes the humbling perspective of infinity, and gives new life to the concept of soul.

‘Agnostic’ recasts the question of belief not as a problem to be solved, but as an invitation to an ongoing, open-ended adventure of the mind.

Her approach has been praised as “vital and mischievous” by The New York Times, and as “a positive orientation to life, one that embraces both science and mystery … while remaining intimately grounded and engaged.”

Lesley Hazleton was born in England in 1945, and lived in Jerusalem from 1966 to 1979 and then in New York from 1979 to 1992, when she moved to Seattle. She became a United States citizen in 1994.

She went on to take a BA Honors in psychology at England’s Manchester University in 1963-1966, and an MA in psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1969-71.

Among recent honors, she received The Stranger’s Genius Award in Literature in 2011, and served as the Inaugural Scholar-in-Residence at the Town Hall Seattle civic and cultural center in 2012.

Lesley Hazleton at FGLF 2017

Don’t miss meeting Lesley Hazleton at the Fairway Galle Literary Festival 2017. Her events will be announced in November 2016 … Please click the FOLLOW button below to receive email updates as festival news and announcements are published.