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Najla Said

Actress-Playwright, Palestinian-American Identity Explorer.

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Date of Birth:



Boston/ United States

Place of Birth:

Why Featured?

Said's unique perspective as the daughter of Edward Said, combined with her own explorations of identity, privilege, and cultural heritage through art and literature, places her in a distinctive position within both the Palestinian community and broader discussions on race, identity, and the diaspora experience.

Brief bio

Najla Said is an accomplished author, actress, and playwright who navigates the intricacies of her Arab-American identity through her work. Her memoir, "Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family," offers a poignant look into her journey towards self-acceptance and understanding of her heritage.

Major Milestones


  • Off-Broadway Success: Completed a nine-week sold-out Off-Broadway run of her solo show, "Palestine", in April 2010 (CAC Boston) .

  • Memoir Publication: Published her critically acclaimed memoir, "Looking for Palestine," in 2013 (Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau) (Barnes & Noble) .

  • Acting Career: Has appeared in TV shows such as "NCIS: New Orleans" and films, marking a significant presence in the acting field (Najla Said) .

  • National Performances: Performed her one-woman show "Palestine" across the United States at universities including Harvard and the University of Michigan, spreading awareness and education on her cultural heritage (CAC Boston) .

  • Identity Exploration: Evolved her understanding and public discourse on her complex identity through interviews, public appearances, and her writing, contributing significantly to conversations on race, identity, and the diaspora experience (Big Think) .

  • Theatrical Contributions: Said's one-woman show "Palestine" offers a personal narrative that bridges cultural divides and invites dialogue on Palestinian and Arab points of view.

  • Literary Achievements: Her memoir provides a unique lens on Arab-American identity, contributing significantly to the genre of immigrant literature in the United States.

  • Cultural Commentary: Said's public discussions and essays offer insights into the challenges of navigating multiple cultural identities.

  • Acting Career: Through her roles in television and film, Said has contributed to the visibility of Arab-American actors in mainstream media.

  • Educational Impact: Through her performances and speaking engagements at universities across the United States, Said has educated and inspired students on issues related to identity, culture, and the Arab-American experience.

Date of Last Update: 
April 6, 2024

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