Coming soonish….

“Ornette Coleman” by Frederick J. Brown, oil and charcoal on linen, 1992. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute.

“The theme you play at the start of the number is the territory. And what comes after, which may have very little to do with it, is the adventure.”  Ornette Coleman

Few people in any given age may be called its true contemporaries, for embodying the strivings and achievements of their time, distilling its characteristic forces and possibilities into a body of work and experience. African-American composer and musician (alto and tenor sax, trumpet, violin) Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman (March 19, 1930 – June 11, 2015) was zeitgeist incarnate, not only for his music but the places and people that influenced it and the ideas that drove it forward. Born in segregated Fort Worth, Texas during the Depression, Ornette and jazz grew up together, as the brassy blare of big band swing gave way to bebop, a faster music for a faster, post-war world. A defiant young man, he turned to free jazz, a break-away art appropriate to the Space Age that challenged the musical boundaries of the known.

Ornette Coleman: The Territory and the Adventure describes the places, situations and encounters that informed Ornette’s struggle for creative expression, an effort that lies at the heart of the human experience. The virtuosity, receptive listening and calibrated response his ensembles demonstrated were intended as a model not just for jazz, but all genuine communication and his influence is acknowledged by artists of every discipline. Ornette remarked: “The theme you play at the start of the number is the territory. And what comes after, which may have very little to do with it, is the adventure.” This book explores the themes behind the work of one of America’s most adventurous artists. 

Ornette Coleman: The Territory and the Adventure, will be published by Reaktion Books, UK in 2020. It is dedicated to the memory of my brother, Francis J. Golia Jr. (August 10, 1945 – February 2, 2019) for whom I’ve created the website

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Reviews and Press

met.coverRead an excerpt from Meteorite (“It Came From Outer Space”) published in Cabinet Magazine.

Meteorite does a splendid job … illustrating the religious, social, literary, artistic, political, economic and even culinary impact of meteorites, with the help of reportage and anecdote as well as site photographs and portraits . . . Maria Golia writes vividly and wittily … and ample science is elegantly slipped into the book. – Claudio Vita-Finzi, Times Literary Supplement, June 1, 2016

Author’s interview re: Meteorite for National Geographic.

Meteorite – has arrived… Sky at Night Magazine, October 2015 Book of the Month

This is a beautifully written, well-researched book that looks at the science, history, and social aspect of meteorites. Here is the story of stones from space, and I recommend it to anyone interested in these fascinating bits of other worlds which have landed here on Earth. Christopher P. McKay, NASA astrobiologist

Maria Golia has brought to her truly wonderful subject  a matching spirit of wonder,  and has  explored the science and magic, art and uses of ‘lightning rock’, ‘iron rain’, and sacred betyls, with passion, wit – and fiery compression. Marina Warner, author and mythographer

“[who] would have ever expected that rocks falling from space would be such an important contribution to humanity’s intellectual evolution? If you want to understand the landscape of meteorites in the 21st century, then Golia’s book is your one-stop-shop to get you up to speed.” Professor Martin Horejsi, Meteorite Times

‘an extremely well-researched book, with its focus away from the scientific details, and squarely on the place of meteorites in various aspects of human culture.’ John Rowlands, Astronomy Now

 (See my ‘about’ page for more information on Meteorite)
 Cairo: City of Sand (Reaktion Books, London, 2004)

  …a magnificent, multidimensional, eloquent and, above all, intelligent portrait of one of the world’s most enigmatic places.     – Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times, London

…packed full of observations of enduring worth…She writes with wit, immediacy, intimacy and humor.       – Barnaby Rogerson, Times Literary Supplement, London

…is it possible for a foreigner living in Cairo, even for many years, to know the soul of this city? …you will be astonished when you read Maria Golia’s book.   – Rushdi Abul- Hassan,  Sabah El-Kher Magazine, Cairo

…the extent of Golia’s insider status really shows… not just regarding matters specific to Cairo, but to matters of Egyptian-ness in general. – Motaz Attalla, Beirut Daily Star

…astonishingly astute, skillfully critical and deeply empathetic. – Cherine Badrawi, Daily Star, Egypt

Product Details

Photography and Egypt (Reaktion Books, London 2010)

…An admirable and precise historical analysis and critique of the conditions under which photographs were produced [in Egypt], as well as an assessment of their impact on the region.  Catherine David, chief curator, Musées de France, exhibition catalogue forParis Photo, November 2009

…strikingly observed. Golia’s relaxed prose belies her careful research. Her history of photography can also be read as a challenge to [Egypt’s] people and their problematic search for authenticity. – Eleanor Kilroy, Times Literary Supplement, London April 2010 

…Photography and Egypt is a treasure….Golia is a terrific writer… [the book] thrives on her intense and unyielding affection for Egypt, an ardor balanced with humor and the occasionally brutal critique of…the current regime… – Bidoun Magazine, New York/Dubai, Winter 2009-2010

… Swift-moving,  sophisticated and serious, Maria Golia’s narrative  comes right down to the present day.  – John Rodenbeck, Association  for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East (ASTENE)

…conjures the real Egypt to life before the reader, and unfolds the development of a vernacular photography from topography, middle class posturing and propaganda, to political and social activism bearing witness to contemporary events. –F/22 Magazine

Press Bits:

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5000 years old, and counting…


The building of the Asyut Dam, c.1938

Asyut, Guardian City, published by the British Museum, surveys the little-known history of this 5000 year-old Nile-side city from its origins to the present. Based largely on papers delivered at the Annual Egyptology Colloquium at the British Museum (“Asyut through Time: conflict and culture in Middle Egypt”, July, 2017), the book makes this scholarly work accessible to a wider audience of readers who love Egypt. Rather than a comprehensive history or academic treatise, the book illustrates varied facets of Asyut’s special character, with topics ranging from the rock-hewn tombs and animal cemeteries of the ancients, to the monasteries of early Christianity and the vernacular architecture of today.  As on-going excavations and research continue to improve our understanding, this book celebrates Asyut as the guardian of Egypt’s cultural memory, a city and region whose far-reaching influence has only begun to be revealed.

I edited the book with Ilona Regulski, curator of the Museum’s Egyptian written culture department.  It’s full of wonderful illustrations and available for free download in English and Arabic  here ( scroll past photos to ‘books’ heading).

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Tomb Raiding

Tomb-raiding in Egypt – from antiquity to the present- is a topic I’ve researched at some length.  Here’s an essay from Cabinet Magazine‘s ‘Desert’ issue, entitled “Grave Matters” (2017) from A Short History of Tomb-Raiding, a work in progress….


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A deliberate online presence slowly materializes….

photo: sherif alkatscha


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