Winners of Palestine Book Awards honoured

28th Dec 2018
Winners of Palestine Book Awards honoured

Tamari received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Palestine Book Awards (Photo: MEMO)

Harun Nasrullah

The winners of the seventh Palestine Book Awards (PBA) were unveiled in London last month.

Nominations for the prestigious awards – hosted by the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) start every January with submissions from publishers across the world. Nine books were shortlisted into three categories, academic, memoir and lifetime achievement.

The Academic Award was won by Maha Nasser and Colin Andersen. Nasser was honoured for her work ‘Brothers Apart: Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Arab world’, which explores the connections forged between Palestinian intellectuals and the rest of the Arab world, and Andersen for ‘Balfour in the Dock: JMN Jeffries & the Case for the Prosecution’, which examines the masterpiece on Palestine by British journalist Jeffries.

Reja-e Busailah was presented with the Memoir Award for his autobiographical work ‘In the land of my birth: a Palestinian boyhood’, which memoirs his childhood in the lead up to the loss of Palestine in the 1948 Nakba (the Catastrophe).

The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Salim Tamari, who also contributed to this year’s shortlist with ‘The Great War and the remaking of Palestine’.

Tamari’s work has spanned more than two decades and has served as a professor at several prestigious universities in the US, Europe and Palestine, he has secured his place as one of the Arab world’s most experienced academics on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

This year’s keynote speaker Ramzy Baroud reflected on the significance of Palestinians telling their own stories, particularly as Palestinians mark the 70 anniversary of the Nakba this year.
“The story of my people is much older than that of Israel and the birth of the Zionist movement.
However, it was the latter that has disrupted the course of our history, rendering most of us refugees in Palestine itself, throughout the Middle East and the world,” he told guests.

He made special reference to recent events in his hometown of Gaza, where since March, Palestinians have been gathering at the border with Israel to protest the suffocating siege on the Strip since 2006.

“For the millions of refugees, and for the thousands of protesters at the Gaza border, Palestine is no longer just a piece of earth but a perpetual fight for justice – in the name of those who died along the dusty trails of exile and of those who are yet to be born,” he declared.

He concluded: “It is sorely needed that, we, as Palestinian writers, historians and journalists assume the responsibility of reinterpreting Palestinian history, internalising and communicating Palestinian voices, so that the rest of the world can, for once, appreciate the story as told by its wounded but tenacious victims”.

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