Arleen Williams is a Seattle novelist, memoirist, and co-author of a dozen short books in easy English for adults. She teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) at South Seattle College and has worked with immigrants and refugees for close to three decades. Arleen lives, cycles, and writes in Seattle. Want to learn more about her? She’s a voracious blogger, subscribe at arleenwilliams.com and notalkingdogspress.com.
On a personal note, if I had one literary wish to grant, it would be to see New York Times Book Review pay attention to Williams work. She handles complicated, tumultuous and diverse subject matters with literary grace and expertise. She deserves national attention.
The Alki Trilogy
In Running Secrets, flight attendant Chris Stevens is bent on self-destruction until she meets Gemi Kemmal, an Ethiopian home healthcare provider. Gemi and Jake, a paramedic, help Chris heal from and confront her difficult past, and regain a passion for living. In the process, Chris and Gemi forge an unusual friendship that bridges cultural, racial and age differences. Their friendship gives both women the support each needs.
Gemi comes to question restrictive traditions dictating her immigrant life, such as the headscarf she’s worn since entering puberty and the celibacy she’s practiced since the brutal death of her husband and infant in the violence that destroyed her homeland and family. Chris uncovers family secrets that challenge everything she’s ever known to be true.
Together the women learn that racial identity is a choice, self expression is a right, and family is a personal construct. Cindy Steward gave the novel five-stars and wrote this:
“This book is a polished jewel of friendship.
In Biking Uphill, lonely college student Carolyn Bauer offers sanctuary to a homeless teen. Fifteen years later, only Antonia recognizes her old friend when they meet again in an ESL classroom, but she conceals her secret. Biking Uphill invites the reader into a world of undocumented immigration, where unexpected friendships bridge cultural divides and everyone benefits.
Walking Home. Seattle is a long way from the Horn of Africa. Despite escaping his country’s violence, Kidane is never too far from the nightmares and despair of his past. A new country, a new hope, and a new love may not be enough to save him. Only when he is able to face his worst fears can he have any hope of being truly free.