Seattle, Washington —When he’s not working in the library, staff member Jamal Gabobe is busy writing and publishing.
“I think my passion for writing was born from my cultural background to some extent,” says UW Tacoma staff member Jamal Gabobe. “Also, part of me always wanted to explore my need for self-expression.”
Born in Somalialand, Gabobe moved with moved his family to Aden, Yemen at the age of five. “My parents were very big on education,” he said. “They stressed education as the way to advance yourself.”
Gabobe attended a private school in Yemen. “It’s interesting, I had to study in English, but my family is Somali so I spoke Somali at home, English at school and, because Yemen is an Arab country, I spoke Arabic if I was in a store or some other public setting.
Gabobe’s books from left to right: The Path of Difference, Love & Memory and Restless Heart. Gabobe’s work has also appeared in other publications.
Gabobe eventually left Yemen for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. “I continued my schooling while also training to work for an oil company,” he said. Gabobe soon decided the oil company wasn’t a good fit for him. “I really wanted to go to college in the United States,” he said.
Fortunately, a close friend of Gabobe’s lived in Ohio, and helped him get connected with Central State University (CSU), a historically black university. Gabobe ultimately decided to leave CSU. “I really wanted to live on one of the coasts,” he said.
Gabobe transferred to UW Seattle, where he earned a master’s and a Ph.D. in comparative literature. “I’ve always been drawn to the academic environment,” he said. “To be close to a library, close to academic lectures, things that are classified as education or artistic.”
Gabobe is currently staff at UW Tacoma library. He has also worked for six years at UW Seattle as an instructional consultant, teaching courses on pedagogy.