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Jordan Salama
Jordan Salama
Two-time author, writer @natgeo @nymag + more
Nonfiction
Travel
Jewish
Memoir
Where else you can find me
Personal website
Substack
Book a 1:1 with Jordan
Hi!

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Talk soon,
Sam

Hi!

On my mind

I love family histories, and helping people discover their own using the storytelling tools of a journalist. I love swapping stories about adventures in Latin America, and journeys of all kinds. I'm also happy to talk about my writing process, previous and upcoming work, and what I'm reading.

Why I'm excited to talk with readers

I have met countless readers on tour across the U.S. and Europe, but often the conversations at the book-signing table leave me wanting more. I'd love to hear your perspectives and experiences and share more about my own.

All the best,

Jordan

Let's talk! Open to...👇
Freewheeling conversations
Questions about my writing
Questions about your writing
Writing in general
Getting to know you
Family history research tips
 Upcoming
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My latest
My Substack
 by 
Jordan Salama
Where I've written

Stranger in the Desert

A Family Story

Inspired by family lore, a young writer embarks on an epic quest through the Argentine Andes in search of a heritage spanning hemispheres and centuries, from the Jewish Levant to turn-of-the-century trade routes in South America.

One Thanksgiving afternoon at his grandparents’ house, Jordan Salama discovers a large binder stuffed with yellowing papers and old photographs—a five-hundred-year wandering history of his Arab-Jewish family, from Moorish Spain to Ottoman Syria to Argentina and beyond.

Combining travelog, history, memoir, and reportage, Stranger in the Desert transports readers from the lonely plains of Patagonia to the breathtaking altiplano of the high Andes; from the old Jewish quarter of Damascus to today’s vibrant neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. It is also a fervent journey of self-discovery as Salama grapples with his own Jewish, Arab, and Latin American identities, interrogating the stories families tell themselves, and to what end.

“Salama’s rapport with readers remains unquestioned. An accomplished sophomore effort from an unusually gifted young writer.”

— Kirkus Reviews

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Every Day the River Changes

Four Weeks Down the Magdalena

An American writer of Argentine, Syrian, and Iraqi Jewish descent, Jordan Salama tells the story of the Río Magdalena, nearly one thousand miles long, the heart of Colombia. This is Gabriel García Márquez’s territory—rumor has it Macondo was partly inspired by the port town of Mompox—as much as that of the Middle Eastern immigrants who run fabric stores by its banks.

Following the river from near its source high in the Andes to its mouth on the Caribbean coast, journeying by boat, bus, and improvised motobalinera, Salama writes against stereotype and toward the rich lives of those he meets. Among them are a canoe builder, biologists who study invasive hippopotamuses, a Queens transplant managing a failing hotel, a jeweler practicing the art of silver filigree, and a traveling librarian whose donkeys, Alfa and Beto, haul books to rural children.

Joy, mourning, and humor come together in this astonishing debut, travel writing about a country too often seen as only a site of war, and a tale of lively adventure following a legendary river.

“Stories that gleam like river stones…[a] richly observed debut.”

– Liesl Schillinger, The New York Times Book Review

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