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New Palestinian Writing

May 2015

Image: Samia Halaby, “Takheel I” 48” x 66" (2013)

Image: Samia Halaby, “Takheel I” 48” x 66″ (2013)

This month we present new Palestinian writing from around the world, selected and introduced by Nathalie Handal. The eight young authors here work in multiple languages and hail from five continents, testifying to Palestinian literature’s vast thematic, stylistic, and linguistic range. In Jerusalem, Sousan Hammad maps a city and a heart, and Najwan Darwish dreams of the sea. From his exile in Reykjavik, Mazen Maarouf speaks of confinement and freedom. Yayha Hassan and Rodrigo Hasbún portray father-son alienation, and Asmaa Alghoul considers the cost of motherhood in wartime. Eyad Barghuthy finds an undefeated young boxer knocked out by politics. And Randa Abdel-Fattah speaks of her hybridized cultural identity as a Palestinian-Australian Muslim. We thank the A. M. Qattan Foundation for its generous support. 

The Shape of Time: New Palestinian Writing
By Nathalie Handal
To comprehend Palestinian literature, we must have an idea of what it is to be Palestinian today.
A Map of Jerusalem
By Sousan Hammad
Memory—they tell me—has no translation.
Long Distance
By Rodrigo Hasbún
“You’re not going to fool around with your friend’s girlfriend.”
Translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes
Writing the Lives of Gaza: Video Interview with Atef Abu Saif
By Luisa Leme & Atef Abu Saif
Palestinian writer Atef Abu Saif reads from his work.
Solitary Confinement on the Seventh Floor
By Mazen Maarouf
One day / I’ll tear off my lips / and eat them / like candy.
Translated from Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid & Nathalie Handal
Both Freedom and Constraint: An Interview with Randa Abdel-Fattah
By Nathalie Handal
The older I get, the more I realize how hybridized my cultural identity is.
“Your Baby”
By Asmaa Alghoul
The phantoms behind the white sheet were moving more quickly now.
Translated from Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid
A Knockout Punch
By Eyad Barghuthy
It was in New York that he learned the real ways of boxing.
Translated from Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid
Life in Mount Carmel
By Najwan Darwish
Their poems reach me from their temple
Translated from Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid & Nathalie Handal
Father My Unborn Son
By Yahya Hassan
A Stone-Age hand a paperback Koran
Translated from Danish by Kuku Agami & Al Agami