from author’s website


Huda Al-Marashi is the author of First Comes Marriage: My Not-So-Typical American Love Storya book the Washington Post called “a charming, funny, heartbreaking memoir of faith, family, and the journey to love. If Jane Austen had grown up as a first-gen daughter of Iraqi parents in the 1990s, she might have written this.”Her other writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the LA Times, al Jazeera, VIDA Review, the Rumpus, the Offing and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a Cuyahoga County Creative Workforce Fellowship and an Aspen Summer Words Emerging Writer Fellowship. Huda is represented by Myrsini Stephanides at the Carol Mann Agency.


When Huda meets Hadi, the boy she will ultimately marry, she is six years old. Both are the American-born children of Iraqi immigrants, who grew up on opposite ends of California.

Hadi considers Huda his childhood sweetheart, the first and only girl he’s ever loved, but Huda needs proof that she is more than just the girl Hadi’s mother has chosen for her son. She wants what many other American girls have—the entertainment culture’s almost singular tale of chance meetings, defying the odds, and falling in love. She wants stolen kisses, romantic dates, and a surprise proposal. As long as she has a grand love story, Huda believes no one will question if her marriage has been arranged.

But when Huda and Hadi’s conservative Muslim families forbid them to go out alone before their wedding, Huda must navigate her way through the despair of unmet expectations and dashed happily-ever-after ideals. Eventually she comes to understand the toll of straddling two cultures in a marriage and the importance of reconciling what you dreamed of with the life you eventually live.

Tender, honest, and irresistibly compelling, First Comes Marriage is the first Muslim American memoir dedicated to the themes of love and sexuality. Huda and Hadi’s story brilliantly circles around a series of firsts, chronicling two virgins moving through their first everything: first hand-holding, first kiss, and first sexual encounter. First Comes Marriage is an almost unbearably humanizing tale that tucks into our hearts and lingers in our imagination, while also challenging long-standing taboos within the Muslim community and the romantic stereotypes we unknowingly carry within us that sabotage some of our best chances for finding true love.


AltMuslimah Interview

Author Huda Al-Marashi: “Love Stories Dismantle Stereotypes”

The Arab American News

Iraqi American Author Hopes To Debunk Stereotypes About Arranged Marriage

CIIS Public Programs Podcast

Huda Al-Marashi: First Comes Marriage

The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Huda Al-Marashi Writes About Our “Little Iraq”: My Cleveland

The Coast News Group

Local Author Explores Muslim Heritage, Marriage In Memoir

Kenyon Review

This Great Democracy: An Interview With Huda Al-Marashi


Centering The Margins Conference Looks To Writers Of Color


Huda Al-Marashi Re-Writes The American Love Story

The Millions

Anita Felicelli And Huda Al-Marashi Discuss Diaspora, Breaking The Rules, And Reality Vs. Likability

Reading Women

Love Stories And Romance Novels

An American Marriage And First Comes Marriage


Love, Marriage, And The Bicultural Identity: Talking With Huda Al-Marashi

San Diego Union Tribune

Author Huda Al-Marashi Shares Story Of Love, Marriage And ‘Dual Identity’

Seattle Times

Author Huda Al-Marashi Offers An Inside Look At Arranged Marriage


First Comes Marriage


Huda is available to visit with book clubs (video chat and in-person) via NovelNetwork. Schedule your visit today!