Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan is one of nine candidates for the prestigious Neustadt Prize:
It 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:
A new essay by Fady Joudah on translation:
Statements of support for Zaqtan — ultimately not needed — from authors:
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