Nov 19, 2020
It’s hard to tell a story about yourself. And yet, I find I'm most moved by personal narratives—articles that provide a sneak peek into the life of the author. That’s one of the things I loved about Samer Khudairi’s first long-form piece for Good Beer Hunting. It’s called, “(Un)Holy Water — The Middle Eastern Voices Shaping the Global Beer Narrative,” and was published on November 12, 2020.
I saw an early draft of this piece, weeks ago, when Samer had just turned it in. It was distinctly different from the published version. Mostly that's because Samer wasn’t in that first draft at all. And that was on purpose.In this episode, I talk to Samer about what it means to tell a story that’s so connected to your sense of being, and what it means to put yourself on the line. A lot of the evolution of this piece happened behind the scenes—in conversations between Samer and other GBH writers, and in moments of reflection about the emotional weight this story carried.
Samer’s narrative starts with a question: He visits his grandfather, who talks about his great uncle’s work as a brewer, and asks why he doesn’t know more about his family's history in beer. He uses that lens to ask bigger questions, like: Why aren’t the stories of Middle Eastern brewers being told as widely as others? It’s challenging to be vulnerable, to pull your own stories out of your familial history and display them for others to see—but it was by getting close and putting everything out there that Samer was able to tell a story that connected to such a wide audience.
Here’s Samer. Listen in.