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Born in Beirut, Lebanon, she lived there throughout the civil war and emigrated to the United States when she was eighteen. Ward holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.F.A. from the University of Michigan, where she received numerous awards, including Hopwood Awards in Novel and Short Fiction.
Her novel The Bullet Collection (Graywolf Press, 2003), about two sisters growing up in wartime Beirut, received the GLCA New Writers Award, the Anahid Literary Award and the Hala Maksoud Award for Outstanding Emerging Writers.