Kameel Nasr is an ebullient and upbeat New England writer, adventure cyclist, dancer, spiritual seeker, amateur astronomer, social activist, and patron of art and music. Over the past 25 years he has produced books and articles on cycling, international politics, early Christianity, and a Boston Cozy Mystery Series. His works have been published in several formats and languages and been cited in numerous articles and journals.
Kameel was born in Lebanon. His father, who was born on Christmas Eve in Nazareth, got a kick out of boasting that they were descendants of Jesus’ family. The Nasr family emigrated to the United States, holding tickets on the ill-fated Andrea Doria, but they couldn’t make the connection and landed safely in San Francisco where Kameel grew up. He studied Eastern and Western spirituality and joined an offbeat religious community.
But he craved a deeper experience so went off to the mountains to be a hermit, discovering instead that he loved being around people. He took an MA in literature at DePaul University, then began traveling the world alone by bicycle.
BICYCLING AS SPIRITUAL AWAKENING
Kameel credits his cycling trips as the most important influence in his life. His first book, The World Up Close, describes some of the fascinating people he met on the road. Experiencing the myriad of cultures transformed his life’s outlook and filled him with a desire to promote tolerance. He used his observations of people living in the rural areas of poor countries as a backdrop to daily life in Son of the Last Martyrs, which takes place between the twilight of the Roman Empire and the growth of the Church.
Kameel wants Christians to acknowledge how they treated Jews and heretics, acting no better than the pugnacious fundamentalists of today.
ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM
Kameel’s interest in art and music inspired his Boston cozy mystery series. The first book, The Museum Heist, is based on the $500 million robbery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. In this fictional story a classical scholar finds the missing art, enabling the author to discuss art and one of his favorite topics, the Greek-Roman world.
BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The second book in the series, The Symphony Heist, is about another passion, classical music and opera. He has the good fortune to listen to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, so he used another fictional setting to talk about music. The books are positive and fun, but all of Kameel’s books have a deeper aspect. He doesn’t shy away from criticism, especially about the lack of diversity within the classical music crowd. Kameel promises more cultural heist mysteries to come.
A FUND FOR POSITIVE CHANGE
In 2015, Kameel donated seed money to begin the Curiosity Foundation which aims to take positive action against climate change as well as to support the arts. All money from his books go directly to the foundation. Despite the problems and dramas of our world, Kameel feels optimistic about our future. He discovered on his bicycling trips that people in other countries had a deep desire to know about America. Many had greatly distorted images of Americans. He found himself being a spokesperson for his country, which inspired him to begin the Ambassador of Peace program to promote dialogue and cooperation. He continues riding, writing, observing the heavens, interviewing other writers for a local TV show, promoting peace, and being an advocate for the arts.