8 To Read from Gaza

Any “listicle” on Gaza risks being an exploitative act, piggybacking on and redirecting attention from the current human catastrophe. But silence isn’t much of a solution, either. So, a list:  

Gaza cover artwork_HR (2) copyCOLLECTIONS

The Book of Gaza, ed. Atef Abu Saif, trans. various

One of this year’s PEN Promotes-winning titles, The Book of Gaza, features short work by Atef Abu SaifAbdallah TayehTalal Abu ShawishMona Abu SharekhNajlaa AtaallahGhareeb AsqalaniNayrouz QarmoutYusra al KhatibAsmaa al Ghul and Zaki al ‘Ela. You can order the book online.

Gaza Writes Back, ed. Refaat Alareer

This collection features stories, creative nonfiction, and commentary written in English by Gaza youth, in response to the 2008-2009 “Cast Lead” operation. You can read an interview with the book’s editor and order a copy.


“Still Life: Scenes from Gaza Time,” by Atef Abu Saif, trans. William Hutchins

Discovery He discovered suddenly that Gaza had a sea-a big sea too. It was blue-like a dark-colored painting-and in the evening the sun resembled a giant orange plunging into the watery abyss as it disappeared into the sea. Keep reading.

“Letter from Gaza,” by Ghassan Kanafani

Dear Mustafa,

I have now received your letter, in which you tell me that you’ve done everything necessary to enable me to stay with you in Sacramento. I’ve also received news that I have been accepted in the department of Civil Engineering in the University of California. I must thank you for everything, my friend. But it’ll strike you as rather odd when I proclaim this news to you — and make no doubt about it, I feel no hesitation at all, in fact I am pretty well positive that I have never seen things so clearly as I do now. No, my friend, I have changed my mind. I won’t follow you to “the land where there is greenery, water and lovely faces” as you wrote. No, I’ll stay here, and I won’t ever leave. Keep reading.

Also: Libyan Novelist Hisham Matar on “Letter from Gaza”


“Sleeping in Gaza,” by Najwan Darwish, trans. Kareem James Abu Zeid

Fado, I’ll sleep like people do
when shells are falling
and the sky is torn like living flesh

Keep reading

“Silence for the Sake of Gaza,” by Mahmoud Darwish, trans. Ibrahim Muhawi

From Journal of an Ordinary Grief:

Gaza is not the most beautiful of cities.

Her coast is not bluer than those of other Arab cities.

Her oranges are not the best in the Mediterranean.

Gaza is not the richest of cities. Keep reading.


“The Gaza Monologues,” produced by Ashtar Theatre

These monologues are the individual stories of Gaza youth, performed worldwide. You can read more on the Gaza Monologues website or watch a documentary film on the Monologues.


Mohammed Suliman’s Twitter account, @imPalestine

Suliman distills experience into dense, vivid tweets:

Yasser receives a call from IDF. Evacuate in ten minutes. He wasn’t home though. His family was. Hysterically, he phoned home. No one picked

A jet fires two missiles at a civilian house. The house becomes rubble. Five are instantly killed. 18 injured. The only survivor is a cat.

I turn on the TV. I hear a doctor describe how one wounded child pleaded with him to stop treating him and treat his baby brother instead.