Your Reading List of Palestinian Prose

Writing a novel or poem based on experience is probably the most used technique when it comes to prose. However, experience differs from person to person, from region to region and from country to country. These authors want you to experience the Palestinian story. 

Men in the Sun – Ghassan Kanafani 


Talking about Palestinian prose without talking about Ghassan Kanafani is like a crime. The Palestinian author and political activist was born in Beirut, Lebanon. His “Men in the Sun” was published in 1962 and has since then been translated into several languages. 

“Men in the Sun” is a story about three Palestinian men who try to flee a refugee camp in order to go to Kuwait, where they hope to find work. With the money they earn they want to support their families who are left behind in the refugee camps. With the help of people smugglers, they start their journey across miles of desert trek in a water tank. This journey in hope of a better life and future shows the struggle of Palestinian refugees and criticizes the Arab leaders’ silence on the Palestinian issue. 

The sun is high in the sky and the desert is dry, but whenever there is a checkpoint the three protagonists will have to hide in the water tank. In the end, will they be able to reach Kuwait? 

It’s not only about the protagonists, it’s about their trauma, their stories and humanity.

Salt Houses – Hala Alyan 


This debut novel written by Hala Alyan is about the struggle of a displaced Palestinian family who gets scattered all over the world after they were forced to leave their homes because of the 1967 Six-Day War. 

The whole tragedy was foreseen by Salma who reads the future in the coffee cup of Alia during her wedding. Salma sees the chaotic and complicated future of Alia but decides to keep it to herself. Not long after this, Alia’s family is forced to move from Nablus. 

It is a sad and heartbreaking story that brings back the conflict of Palestine to the essence, humanity. 

Haifa Fragments – Khulud Khamis 


As a Palestinian citizen of Israel, Maisoon is confronted with those who live on the other side of the green line, in the Occupied Territories. After passing the strict checkpoints to discover the hard lives of those on the other side, she feels as if she has been betraying her roots and ancestors.

Maisoon works as a jewelry designer in a Jewish boutique and has been raised as a secular Christian. Her father and boyfriend do not support her in her attempts to learn more about what and who she really is. But it also seems like her father has a lot of secrets. 

Who are you and where are you from? Identity is a big topic in this book. 

Palestinian Walks: Forays Into A Vanishing Landscape – Raja Shehadeh 


When something basic as taking a walk becomes a metaphor for the displacement of an entire group of people, then we’re talking about Palestinian Walks. Six walks are all it takes to see how the beautiful and peaceful scenery in Palestine changes into something totally different. 

The book talks about the uncertain future of people in Ramallah who are experiencing the growing occupation by Israel. 

Palestine +100: stories from a century after the Nakba 


This one is different. It does not talk about the past, nor does it talk about the present situation of Palestine. It is all about the future. As the titel already reveals, it is a century after the Nakba.

This book is a collection of short stories written by twelve different authors. Each of them wrote about how their country would look like in 2048. The stories topics range from superheroes to parallel universes.

For some it is one of the best collection of short stories ever published by Arabic authors.