Palestine Literature

According to, Palestinian cultural production of the 20th century was influenced by the political situation: on May 15, 1998 the Palestinian people commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the nakbah (“Catastrophe”) of 1948. Since then, Palestinian intellectuals, both those who have lived within the State of Israel, those residing in the Occupied Territories and the Gaza Strip, and Palestinians who have known the diaspora in other countries Arabs or in the West, they struggle to gain a personal and national identity in the eyes of the world. The discourse on memory is fundamental, which aims, in more recent years, to reconstruct that history of the British pre-occupation and then the Jewish one common to the other Arab countries of the region. After decades of Palestinian cultural production being dominated by so-called post-1967 resistance literature,

Also the singer par excellence of Palestine, symbol of the poetry of resistance, Maḥmūd Darwīš (1941-2008), in his most recent collections, including Fī ḥaḍrat al-ġiyāb (2006, In the presence of absence) and Aṯar al-farāšah (2008, The effect of the butterfly), denounced the contradiction between his own political conscience and the aesthetic demands of poetry. A sentiment shared by the other distinguished voice of Palestinian poetry, Samīḥ al-Qāsim (1939-2014), who has always been able to reconcile struggle and melancholy, tenderness and political commitment. Murīd al-Barġūṯī (b.1944) also expressed, in his collections Zahr al-rummān (2000, The pomegranate flower) and Muntaṣaf al-layl (2005, Midnight), the intent to tell the horrors of history without remaining a prisoner.

The new generation of poets, which includes Zakariyā Muḥammad (b.1950) and Ġassān Zaqtān (b.1954), up to Ašraf al-Zaġal (b.1974), Naǧwān Darwīš (b.1978), Māzin Ma’rūf (b. 1978) and the Syrian-Palestinian Ġiyāṯ al-Madhūn (b. 1979), shows definitively how it is possible to overcome the false dichotomy between poetry and political discourse.

The fiction has found among its protagonists Saḥar Ḫalīfah (b. 1941), who in her novels explores the nature of Palestinian identity and its interaction with the other, with particular attention to the female condition. Among his novels al-Mīrāṯ (2002; trans. It. The inheritance, 2011), Rabī῾ ḥārr (2004; trans. It. A spring of fire, 2008), Aṣl wa faṣl (2009, Origin and detachment), Ḥubbī al-awwal (2010, My first love). Ibrāhīm Naṣrallāh (b.1954), son of parents who fled to Jordan after the nakbah, poet and narrator, published the novels Zaman al-ḫuyūl al-bayḍā᾽ (2007, The time of the white horses), a real Palestinian epic, as well as Qanādīl malik al-Ǧalīl (2011, The lanterns of the king of Galilee) and Šurfat al-hāwiyah (2013, The edge of the abyss), united by the evocative language and the lyricism of style. Anwar Ḥāmid (b.1957), born in the Occupied Territories and residing in London, in his Yāfā tu῾iddu qahwat al-ṣabāḥ (2012, Jaffa makes morning coffee) focuses on daily life in the Palestinian city in the early 1940s, and on the peaceful coexistence of the members of the different communities, Christians, Muslims and Jews.

Among the young authors stands out ‘Adaniyyah Šiblī (b. 1974), whose novels and short stories are written in an essential, almost minimalist style. A notable contribution is made by writers from the Gaza Strip, starting with Ruba῾ī al-Madhūn (b.1945), who lived in the refugee camp of Ḫān Yūnis and author of the novel al-Sayyidah min Tall Abīb (2009, La lady of Tel Aviv), a story that focuses on the climate of anxiety and suspicion that dominates relations between Palestinians and Israelis, showing them in all their complexity and ambiguity. He is joined by ῾Āṭif Abū Sayf (b.1973), writer, playwright and essayist, author of several novels including Ḥayāh mu῾allaqah (2014, A suspended life), set in a refugee camp; Ṭalāl Abū Šāwīš (b. 1967); the writers Naǧlā᾽ ῾Aṭāllāh (b. 1987), Asmā᾽ al-Ġūl (b. 1982) and Nayrūz Qarmūṭ (b. 1984). There are also numerous writers who publish in English, among them the American naturalized Palestinians Ibtisam Barakat (b.1964), Susan Abulhawa (b.1970), author of The scar of David (2006, trans. It. In the sign of David, 2006 ; new ed. Mornings in Jenin, 2010, trans. it. Every morning in Jenin, 2011), Randa Jarrar (b. 1978) and Najla Said (b. 1974), as well as Suad Amiry (b. 1951), who lives in Ramallah, known for its novels full of bitter irony.

Palestine Literature

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