The Middle East Monitor announced the winner of the 2016 Palestine Book Awards, chosen from a shortlist of seven:
The winner, announced Friday in London, was the poetry collection I Remember My Name, which includes the work of poets Jehan Bseiso, Samah Sabawi, and Ramzy Baroud.
The eclectic award, which launched in 2012, judges several genres of Palestine- or Palestinian-focused, English-language works against one another. This year, there was a short-story collection, a poetry collection, a book of interviews, two academic works, an anthology of essays, and a work of journalism. It was poetry that triumphed.
Among the poems in the collection is Bseiso’s “Letter to Ghassan Kanafani on the 66th Anniversary of the Nakba.” From the poem:
I was nine when I first realized I shared my birthday with someone else. On the 9th of April each year the public library ran dotty black and white reels of your life, and afterwards we had cake.
I was always curious why you were not showing up at our birthday party. Only years later I realized it was a commemoration not a celebration, or a little bit of both.
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