The Middle East Monitor announced the winner of the 2016 Palestine Book Awards, chosen from a shortlist of seven:
The winner, announced Friday in London, was the poetry collection I Remember My Name, which includes the work of poets Jehan Bseiso, Samah Sabawi, and Ramzy Baroud.
The eclectic award, which launched in 2012, judges several genres of Palestine- or Palestinian-focused, English-language works against one another. This year, there was a short-story collection, a poetry collection, a book of interviews, two academic works, an anthology of essays, and a work of journalism. It was poetry that triumphed.
The award was created to recognize “the best authored works on the subject of Palestine.”
Among the poems in the collection is Bseiso’s “Letter to Ghassan Kanafani on the 66th Anniversary of the Nakba.” From the poem:
I was nine when I first realized I shared my birthday with someone else. On the 9th of April each year the public library ran dotty black and white reels of your life, and afterwards we had cake.
I was always curious why you were not showing up at our birthday party. Only years later I realized it was a commemoration not a celebration, or a little bit of both.