MEMO hosted the 12th annual Palestine Book Awards (PBA) this evening, showcasing literature on Palestine while remembering the 2.3 million Palestinians who are currently trapped in Gaza and struggling to survive through Israel’s genocidal bombing campaig
MEMO hosted the 12th annual Palestine Book Awards (PBA) this evening, showcasing literature on Palestine while remembering the 2.3 million Palestinians who are currently trapped in Gaza and struggling to survive through Israel’s genocidal bombing campaign. The event, held virtually in order to allow the participation of authors in the Occupied West Bank who are unable to travel as a result of the Israeli Occupation authorities’ restrictions, was joined by Palestinian poet from Gaza, Mosab Abu Toha, a survivor of the ongoing atrocities and genocide and winner of the 2022 PBA Creative Award, while Professor Eugene Rogan of St Anthony’s College, Oxford, hosted the event. Opened by Professor Rogan with his jovial and witty welcome, Professor Nur Masalha subsequently announced the PBA winners of 2023, with the Creative Award going to Dareen Tatour for her book I Sing From the Window of Exile, a collection of bilingual poetry on Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the loss and displacement of her people. Upon accepting her award, Tatour recounted that she brought her book to the world to tell people her message on “what prisoners feel, what the Palestinian people feel when they were in exile or were refugees, and how everyone has the feeling of being far from the homeland”. Ibrahim Muhawi won the Translation Award for Among the Almond Trees: A Palestinian Memoir, which focuses on the theme of Palestinian return, based on the poet and author, Hussein Barghouthi’s return to Palestine from his “voluntary exile” after 30 years.
2023 Winners of 12th Palestine Book Awards
- Creative Award Winner Dareen Tatour – I Sing From the Window of Exile
- Academic Award Winner Nadim Bawalsa – Transnational Palestine: Migration and the Right of Return before 1948
- Translation Award Winner Ibrahim Muhawi, for his translation of Among the Almond Trees: A Palestinian Memoir
- Memoir Award Winners Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri They Called Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl’s Fight for Freedom
- Counter Current Award Winner Tahrir Hamdi – Imagining Palestine: Cultures of Exile and National Identity
- Lifetime Achievement Award Dr Rosemary Sayigh
The Academic Award was given to Nadim Bawalsa for his book Transnational Palestine: Migration and the Right of Return before 1948, a work which delves into the issue and historical roots of Palestinian national identity, statelessness, and the fundamental right of return. “I’m hoping what this book does is empower more communities across the world, not only to seek justice – whether through international legal forums, or through petition-writing, or through newspapers, or through any means of activism at their disposal – but to also come together and realise that Palestine is everywhere,” Bawalsa stated. “Palestine is in the Andes, Palestine is in the Amazon, Palestine is all over the Americas, Europe, it’s as far as the Philippines … We are everywhere, our documents are everywhere, our struggle to return is a century old; in fact, it’s not just 75 years old.” Palestinian activist, Ahed Tamimi and American-Palestinian journalist, Dena Takruri won the Memoir Award for They Called Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl’s Fight for Freedom, in which Tamimi recounts her ongoing life and struggles, as well as the resistance she and her family have shown to the Israeli Occupiers. Accepting the award, Takruri lamented that Tamimi had been arrested, once again, following the publication of the book, before being released, and that many people mentioned within the book – including Tamimi’s own father – remain detained by Israel’s occupation. “This occupation is out of control and Israel has really escalated to next level genocidal mania, which is alarming to all of us. But we remain steadfast and hopeful in our dream of liberation and freedom.” The Counter Current Award was won by Tahrir Hamdi, Professor at the Arab Open University, for her bookImagining Palestine: Cultures of Exile and National Identity, in which she explores how writers, thinkers, activists and intellectuals in the Palestinian Diaspora – especially those exiled from their homeland – have connected their memories to both the present and the future. British journalist and historian, Dr Rosemary Sayigh, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award to commemorate her anthropology and work on recording the displacement narratives of Palestinian women. With nominations starting in January and submissions being made by national and international publishers, writers can submit books published in English on the topic of Palestine for consideration for this year’s awards by visiting the PBA website, where the opening date for PBA 2024 will be listed in the coming weeks.