News & Interviews



  • Frustrated by Chick Lit, UN News Writer Jessica Jiji Decides to Write Her Own. – Associated Press

    “International atrocities were all in a day’s work for Jessica Jiji, a news writer at the United Nations. Foreign policy, election results and body counts were, and still are, her bread and butter. When she came home, Jiji needed to decompress . . .  read more . . . >

  • A Diamond in the New York Rough – (IPS) ARTS WEEKLY/BOOKS

    ” ‘So many novels are set in New York as if it’s only a place where blondes can get their hair coloured on Fifth Avenue, but really it is a multicultural city,’ says Jessica Jiji, author of ‘Diamonds Take Forever’, a new novel published by Harper-Collins last month. Centred around a love story, Jiji’s novel explores the themes of ethnicity, self-pride and individuality in a simple and sincere, but artistic and colourful way that shows how in the complex urban setting of New York, everyday people continue to get along with each other, despite stark differences in their belief systems and traditions . . .  read more . . . >

  • Nueva York aún es multicultural – (IPS) Cultura > Literatura

    “. . . es un hecho que la ciudad sigue siendo símbolo de respeto mutuo y tolerancia a las diferencias culturales y religiosas. ‘Muchas novelas presentan a Nueva York como si sólo fuera un lugar donde las rubias se pasean por la Quinta Avenida, pero en realidad es una ciudad multicultural’, afirmó Jiji, autora de “Diamonds Take Forever” (“Los diamantes no llegan nunca”), publicada por la editorial Harper-Collins el mes pasado. Centrada en una historia de amor, la novela explora cuestiones étnicas, el orgullo y la individualidad, de forma simple y sincera, pero también artística y colorida . . . leer más . . . >

  • Kelly Ryan and Cameron Phillips Interview Jessica Jiji – from Freestyle on CBC Radio

    Jessica Jiji: I also worked there, actually. I was the producer on the other end of the line. And I chose CBC because frankly I think it’s glamorous.

    KR: Really?

    CP: We’re glamorous?

    JJ: You are so glamorous, you guys –

    CP: I’m blushing.

    JJ: – with your fabulous studios and microphones and live interviews.

    KR: So alright, as I look around here, anybody here actually characters in the book?

    JJ: I couldn’t say; that’s a state secret.

    KR: [laughs] And given your portrayal of some of them, you might want to keep it that way, ‘cause there’s a couple of people in the book that actually aren’t very nice . . .  read more . . . >

  • Required Reading – by Billy Heller,  The New York Post

    “By day, Jessica Jiji writes about AIDS, war, refugees – she’s a news writer for the U.N. At night, she pens… chick lit. Her debut novel, “Diamonds Take Forever,” centers on Michelle Benamou, a Jewish-Arab-American radio reporter in New York, her ex-Marine boyfriend, and – what else? – real estate.”

  • Truth and Fiction The Washington Times

    “The book will be published this month by Avon Trade, a division of HarperCollins. That makes Ms. Jiji the only woman to work for Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Rupert Murdoch, whose media empire includes the Fox News Channel. ‘Isn’t that funny?’ said Ms. Jiji, a skateboarder who shares a number of traits with her fictional heroine, including an Arab father, an American mother and an ex-boyfriend who was in the military . . .  read more . . . >

  • The Struggle of Gems, Princess v. Whore and Buddhist Philosophy WaxRomantic

    How much of the novel is based on your experiences?

    Hmmm… well my husband – he’s the happy ending of course – has accused me of writing a documentary, but the answer to your question is not that much! Someone once said that the difference between life and fiction is that fiction makes sense. I’m still trying to get it together in life, but in the novel, all the loose ends are neatly tied.

    The heroine in DIAMONDS TAKE FOREVER at one point divides all of her lingerie into two folders, one labeled “Princess” and the other “Whore.” Can you relate to those categories?

    In literal terms, no, but metaphorically, definitely. ‘Princess’ here doesn’t connote royalty but rather that side of a girl that wants the finest things in life. And ‘Whore’ is just shorthand for hot . . .  read more . . . >

  • Bedouin Tales, Guilt–Free Escapism and Multiple Crushes – Voice of America Interview

    “I think the best romance novels are the ones that really dig down deep, and really expose our vulnerabilities and our difficulties, and our challenges, our problems. So in that sense I think readers can find, at least in mine, I tried to just expose all the emotion, whatever: good, bad and ugly. And that’s where you get the triumph, because you can relate on a certain level and then you identify with the heroine, you want her to win, and when she does, it’s your triumph too . . . I’m a romance junkie. I love falling in love, I love crushes. I married my true love, I’m still very happily married, but that doesn’t mean I don’t fall in love about twenty times a day. So I never get sick of it . . .  read more . . . >

  • Romance Conference comes to Reno – KUNR 88.7/Kristin Larsen

    “. . . In [romance novels], the passionate tension between the voluptuous heroine and the handsome hero usually ends in an equally passionate marriage. The genre does not garner as much respect as other forms of literature in fact, critics call it pure escapism. But Jessica Jiji, a romance novelist — and news writer for the United Nations — asks what’s wrong with that? . . .  read more . . . >

  • Jessica’s Diamonds – UN Forum

    “In her debut novel, DIAMONDS TAKE FOREVER, United Nations staffer Jessica Jiji draws on her Arabic heritage to offer tender descriptions that provide a refreshing alternative to the prevailing images in the US media of Arabs involved in war or terrorism. She notes, for example, that the Arabic language “has nuances and poetry and a mellifluousness that are impossible to interpret into the limited dialects of the West.” The music of Umm Kalthoum and Omar Hakim are invoked with the respect and admiration they deserve. Jessica even manages to make the Egyptian soap opera Ayna Qalbi sound entrancing . . .  read more . . . >

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