Gazan Writer Atef Abu Saif Wins London Residency

Acclaimed novelist Atef Abu Saif — who is shortlisted for this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction — has been selected as the winner of a new summer residency:

Atef Abu Saif 2The London-based “Arab Writer’s Residency Programme” is sponsored by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP) and the Delfina Foundation.

The Peninsula Qatar reported that there were “more than 150 applicants” for the eight-week residency, which is meant to “provide Abu Saif with the opportunity to research, write and engage with cultural practitioners and creative thinkers.”

Further, the newspaper said, “he will develop work, which will be considered for publication by BQFP in Arabic and English.”

Abu Saif is the author of five novels, including A Suspended Lifehis most recent, which was shortlisted for the 2015 IPAF. Unfortunately, Abu Saif was not able to attend the Casablanca Book Fair, where the IPAF shortlist was announced, as Hamas-affiliated security services stopped him from leaving the heavily blockaded Gaza strip on Feb. 4.


He wrote about it in a recent essay, “About Hamas and Culture” for the Al-Ayyam newspaper, where he has a regular column.

Abu Saif also is an accomplished short-story writer, and edited the collection The Book for Gaza for Comma Press. The Press will also bring out a collection of his essays, The Drone Eats with Me, at the end of this month.

Selections from Abu Saif’s writing online:

‘I do not want to be a number’ – Atef Abu Saif in Slate.

‘The Children Have Barely Slept’ – Atef Abu Saif in Guernica.

‘We wait each night for death to knock at the door’ – Atef Abu Saif in The Sunday Times.

‘Life Under Fire: Five Days in Gaza’ – Atef Abu Saif in The Guardian.

‘Eight Days in Gaza: Life and Death in the Gaza Strip’ – Atef Abu Saif’s in The New York Times.

‘We’re OK in Gaza’ – Atef Abu Saif in Guernica 

‘After the Devastation’ – Atef in The Guardian


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