Visiting Associate Professor of Film and Heritage Studies
Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: BA University of Minnesota; MA American University; PhD University of Amsterdam
Research Areas: Middle East & the Gulf; Film & Television; Literature; Heritage; Memory & Identity; Heritage, Food& Environment
Alia Yunis has worked on projects on five continents, focusing her writing and filmmaking on memory and heritage. Her feature documentary, The Golden Harvest (2019), made its debut at Thessaloniki International Film Festival, won Best of the Fest at its US debut at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival and has gone on to play in several other festivals. Alia spent many years in Los Angeles as a screenwriter and script analyst for companies such as Village Roadshow Pictures and Miramax. Alia is a PEN Emerging Voices Fellow and the recipient of a comedy-writing award from Warner Bros. Her novel, The Night Counter (Random House 2010), was critically-acclaimed by the Washington Post, the Boston Entertainment Weekly, and several other publications, and it is read in classes in several schools and universities. Her fiction and non-fiction writings have appeared in numerous books, magazines and anthologies and been translated into six languages.
She is currently co-editing with Dr. Dale Hudson (NYUAD) a special double issue on film and visual media in the Gulf for the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication (Brill, 2020) and an anthology on the same topic for Indiana University Press (2021) and is one of the contributing writers on the Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021) and Oxford Bibliographies (2020). In 2010, she co-founded the Zayed University Middle East Film Festival (ZUMEFF), now the longest running film festival in the Gulf. She is also one of the two co-founders at UAE National Film Library housed at Zayed University. Alia began her career while doing her BA at the University of Minnesota, working as reporter and intern for the late New York Times journalist David Carr. She has an MA in Film from American University in Washington, DC and a PhD in Heritage and Memory Studies from the University of Amsterdam.
Alia was born in Chicago, and grew up between Minnesota, Beirut, Doha and Athens.