Abbas El-Zein

Abbas El-Zein

Abbas El Zein

“I never saw my saviour again and do not recall his face, except for the sketchiest of outlines. But I believed in him, ever after, as I watched him disappear into the sea, my gratitude as great as my earlier terror.”

Bullet, Paper, Rock – A Memoir of Words and War


Abbas El-Zein has published essays and articles on war and violence, identity and displacement. His work has appeared in HEAT Magazine, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Meanjin and Australian Book Review, among others. His novel, Tell the Running Water, is a coming-of-age story set in civil-war Beirut. His memoir, Leave to Remain, is an autobiographical meditation on war, identity and East-West relations. The Secret Maker of the World is a collection of short stories about violence, justice and loss, set in different continents and eras. His latest book, Bullet, Paper, Rock – A Memoir of Words and Wars, published on 3 April 2024, is a story of survival and a reflection on language and desire, amid the upheavals of war, the Arab Spring and the Israel-Palestine conflict.