When the Palestine Book Awards announced their 2019 prizes last Friday, the judges had selected four winners from the seven-book shortlist, as well as a fifth that had not appeared on the prize’s shortlist:
This was Ghassan Zaqtan’s Where the Bird Disappeared, in translation by Samuel Wilder, published by Seagull Books in 2018. This was the second prose work of Zaqtan’s — best known for his globally award-winning poetry — to have been published in Wilder’s English translation. The first was the beautiful Describing the Past, which appeared in 2016.
All told, there were five categories of winners: Academic (Noura Erakat’s Justice for Some), Creative (Isabella Hammad’s The Parisian), Social History (Andrew Ross’s Stone Men: The Palestinians Who Built Israel), the Lifetime Achievement Award (the multi-author collection and art book Nabil Anani: Palestine, Land and People), and Translation.
A total of 43 English-language books were entered in this year’s competition. The judging panel was made up of a mix of academics, aid workers, novelists, and journalists: Haifa Zangana, Ibrahim Darwish, Alan Waddams, Subhi Hadidi, Nur Masalha, and Victoria Brittain.