These fascinating and diverse stories reflect the everyday concerns of Palestinians living under occupation. Writers who were children during the first intifada appear alongside those who remember the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war. They offer compassionate, often critical, insight into their society in times of hardship and turmoil, drawing upon the warmth of human relations and the hope that better times will come.
It’s a rare showcase of Palestinian women writers across the generations. Some of the stories appear in English for the first time, including ‘Dust’ by the award-winning young novelist Adania Shibli. Contributors include authors from Gaza and Ramallah, and writers from the United States, Jordan and the Gulf.
About the Contributors
Jo Glanville is director of English PEN. She has made a number of well-received documentaries about the Middle East and has contributed to many newspapers and magazines on the subject. She has also contributed her own fiction and essays to a number of anthologies.
'We could hardly need them more urgently than we do now ... In a world with porous frontiers, literature can help outsiders register the depth and dignity of other lives.'
Boyd Tonkin, Independent
'A humane, richly rewarding read ... no two women share the same perspective, but the kaleidoscope effect of so many visions serves to illuminate rather than blur.'
'A variety of styles and voices ... lyrical and beautifully written, they give us a different perspective on life in Palestine.'
'Many layered, haunting, sensuously rich and often threatening to the status quo ... subversion and fragmentation, exile and return, echo through ... Such moments show more than a thousand news broadcasts.'
'In turn lyrical, sensuous, comic and ironic ... valuable ammunition against the impoverished imagination of political discourse ... it is the quality of subtle, evocative writing here that makes Qissat remarkable.'
'What is exceptional, given the backdrop of nakba – the catastrophe – that remains a defining feature of all the submissions included in the book is the range, diversity and humour inherent in these stories ... Alongside the war and disruption we are treated to tales of growing up, loss of innocence and the pleasures and pains of falling in and out of love. For readers in English this is a revelation.'
'An insight into the women of a society is an insight into its emotional core, beneath the larger conflicts and politics and into the center of family life. Editor Jo Glanville has constructed the anthology with the conscious objective of combining the work of established writers with the young, emerging female voices, and the result introduces us to some of the many complex and hidden realities of life as a Palestinian woman.'
Francesca Segal, Jewish Quarterly