This Is Not a Border: Reportage & Reflection from the Palestine Festival of Literature

J.M. Coetzee

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The Palestine Festival of Literature was established in 2008 by authors Ahdaf Soueif, Brigid Keenan, Victoria Brittain and Omar Robert Hamilton. Bringing writers to Palestine from all corners of the globe, it aimed to break the cultural siege imposed by the Israeli military occupation, to strengthen artistic links with the rest of the world, and to reaffirm, in the words of Edward Said, "the power of culture over the culture of power."

Celebrating the tenth anniversary of PalFest, This Is Not a Border is a collection of essays, poems, and sketches from some of the world's most distinguished artists, responding to their experiences at this unique festival. Both heartbreaking and hopeful, their gathered work is a testament to the power of literature to promote solidarity and hope in the most desperate of situations.

Contributing authors include J. M. Coetzee, China Miéville, Alice Walker, Geoff Dyer, Claire Messud, Henning Mankell, Michael Ondaatje, Kamila Shamsie, Michael Palin, Deborah Moggach, Mohammed Hanif, Gillian Slovo, Adam Foulds, Susan Abulhawa, Ahdaf Soueif, Jeremy Harding, Brigid Keenan, Rachel Holmes, Suad Amiry, Gary Younge, Jamal Mahjoub, Molly Crabapple, Najwan Darwish, Nathalie Handal, Omar Robert Hamilton, Pankaj Mishra, Raja Shehadeh, Selma Dabbagh, William Sutcliffe, Atef Abu Saif, Yasmin El-Rifae, Sabrina Mahfouz, Alaa Abd El Fattah, Mercedes Kemp, Ru Freeman.

Writers from Alice Walker to Michael Ondaatje to Claire Messud share their thoughts on one of the most vital gatherings of writers and readers in the world.


"The writers express the belief that words will be the things with feathers that will eventually bring attention--and peace . . . A chorus of lyrical voices singing hopefully about a most contentious, divisive, and violent situation." - Kirkus Reviews

"Commemorating 10 extraordinary years of PalFest, the Palestine Festival of Literature, mother-son cofounders Soueif and Hamilton gathered 47 literary luminaries to create this essential testimony . . . Throughout this gathering of essays, poetry, reportage, and confessions, certain words--apartheid, erasure, pain, powerlessness, complicity, waiting, wasting, humiliation, absurdity--repeatedly resonate. But what linger longest are hope, expectation, and the demand for peace." - starred review, Booklist

"In This Is Not a Border: Reportage & Reflections from the Palestine Festival of Literature, an impressive, global team of writers reflect on their experiences traveling to the Palestinian Occupied Territories . . . fascinating, intimate and brutally candid . . . This Is Not a Border transcends politics to reveal the common humanity of our world, to uncover optimism and hope in the most hopeless of places. Ultimately, the collection is a testament to the enduring power of art to unite people." - Shelf Awareness

"A stirring collection . . . This eclectic batch of reports and reflections challenges us to enact the spiritual practice of connections as we explore the links between imperialism, occupation, justice, art, and freedom . . . These essays and poems open many emotional doors, drawing us closer to these ravaged survivors who cling to hope even though it is in short supply." - Spirituality & Practice

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