Ghassan Zaqtan Candidate for 2014 Neustadt Prize

Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan is one of nine candidates for the prestigious Neustadt Prize:

Zaqtan_GhassanIt has been a stunning year for Zaqtan, who was — along with translator Fady Joudah — awarded the C$65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize. Plus, he had all manner of  exciting visa troubles with North American governments.

Zaqtan was nominated for the $50,000 Neustadt by Joudah, who is one of this year’s judges. The Neustadt, sometimes called a bellwether for the Nobel, is organized such that each of the judges nominates one candidate.  Then, in October, jury members are set to convene at OU for deliberations. The jury will vote on the shortlist of nominees to select the winner of the prize, who will be announced on Nov. 1 during the Neustadt Festival of International Literature and Culture.

This laurel sets Zaqtan alongside other prominent international nominees César Aira, Mia Couto, Duong Thu Huong, Edward P. Jones, Ilya Kaminsky, Chang-rae Lee, Edouard Maunick and Haruki Murakami. Zaqtan is the first Palestinian author to be nominated — which is somewhat surprising — and it’s also the first year the Neustadt has seen candidates from Mauritius, Mozambique, and Ukraine.

You can read more on the nine candidates:

On the Neustadt site

A new essay by Fady Joudah on translation:

On Asymptote

Statements of support for Zaqtan — ultimately not needed — from authors:

To the Canadian government. 

Views from Straw Bird events in Boston and Los Angeles:

By Ghada Mourad: ‘The Best Poems Are Not Political Poems, But — 

By Kristin Wagner: Fady Joudah on ‘Othering’ Himself to Translate Ghassan Zaqtan 


A number of Zaqtan’s poems are online: herehere, and here.


  1. welldeserved although I think some of the other candidates might be more deserving because they have much more work, particularl Duong Thuy Huong and Haruki Murakami.

    Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2013 15:27:39 +0000 To:

    1. I’m particularly interested in Edouard Maunick — I hadn’t heard of him. Always love to acquaint myself with new writers.

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