Jean Naggar was born in Alexandria, Egypt, where her mother's parents lived. She grew up in Cairo, attended the Gezira Preparatory School and then The English School in Heliopolis before going to Roedean School in England, for her high school years. The magical world of her childhood as daughter of two prominent Sephardic Jewish families came to a dramatic end in 1956 when Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal and brought about the Suez Crisis that scattered the Jewish population of Egypt far and wide. She has brought to life this lost world in her captivating memoir, Sipping From the Nile: My Exodus From Egypt, [Encore, 2012].
Sipping from the Nile was a finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards in both the memoir and narrative nonfiction categories. Short-listed for the 2011 Eric Hoffer Grand Award it was also the first runner-up in the memoir category.
After graduating from London University Jean (Mosseri) Naggar met and married Serge Naggar, the "boy next door" and followed him to New York City where she has lived ever since. A voracious reader all her life, she wrote poetry which was published in The Listener and Athanor, and translated several books from French into English. Her articles and reviews have been published in the New York Times, the Village Voice, and Publishers Weekly. She has most recently been a blogger for the Huffington Post and a guest blogger on many sites of Jewish interest and of interest to writers. Links to her articles and blogs can be found on her website: www.jeannaggar.com In 1978 she founded the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency (see www.JVNLA.com)and was responsible for bringing many best-selling and iconic writers to the attention of the reading public, happily sharing her reading passions with the world. She is a former president of AAR (Association of Authors' Representatives) and has been sought after as a speaker at events around the US. Mother of three adult children and grandmother of seven, she is at last exploring her childhood dream: to write. Visit her at http://www.jeannaggar.com/ and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jean-naggar/egypts-forgotten-jews_b_2235098.html
In her own words:
“I wear two hats. One propels me out into the world to do battle for others. The other sits silent on my head in a corner of a room and weaves words. One slept in my heart for decades while the other spun circles over my head, sent chariots to the sun, and reached for the stars. When I am wearing neither, I knit, or bake, I love, listen, sing or sleep, read, or hug children when they stray close enough and belong. I am happy and I am sad. I string years into a necklace and wear it proudly. Sometimes I wonder, but most often I put one foot in front of another and advance, leaning into the future and taking comfort from the past. The world is always ancient and always new. The weaving of words makes a pillow for my heart. I will see if I can weave the cloth of life with words.”