Tuesday 4 March 2014

Beyond the Wall: Writing a Path Through Palestine

"An unflinching portrait of life in the West Bank in the 21st Century."

Andrew Kelly, The Observer

I am delighted to celebrate the publication of my fourth book, Beyond the Wall: Writing A Path Through Palestine (Seagull Books/Chicago University Press), which I discuss in a long interview with For Books' Sake. Read Part One here, read Part Two here and Part Three here. There's also a long interview on TYCI and another, by Julie Tomlin, on Digital Women, and another which I did for Time Out Beijing. Further press mentions, hat-tips and interviews have included The New Statesman, World Literature Today, The Mancunion, The List, Platform 51, La Carpa del Feo, Book Elf, The Boar, Time Out Bejing, film-maker and writer Simon Guerrier's site, New Humanist, an interview in Ideas Tap, a long interview in The Asian Writer, Variety, a long interview in The Student Journals, Spiked, Newsclick India, Women's Views on News and The Observer.

Beyond the Wall: Writing A Path Through Palestine is a sharp, immediate reportage published by Seagull Books/Chicago University Press on 15th May 2012. It is the latest release in Seagull’s series of short Manifestos for the Twenty-First Century, which tackle current issues in international political affairs. The publisher’s page can be found here and the Amazon UK page, which has a little bit more blurb, is here.

Beyond the Wall was launched with a panel event at The Mosaic Rooms, entitled Writing A Path Through International Affairs. Journalist Susannah Tarbush has written an excellent report on the event, here. I was joined by Anna Blundy, former Times Moscow correspondent and author of a series of novels about war correspondent Faith Zanetti, inspired by Marie Colvin; poet, economist and novelist Nitasha Kaul, whose debut novel ‘Residue’ was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize and who has written extensively about global economics, Kashmir, India and Bhutan; and Rosie Garthwaite, who began her reporting career straight out of university and the army in Basra, Iraq, and has worked as a reporter and producer for the BBC, Reuters and Al-Jazeera. Her book How to Avoid Being Killed in a Warzone is a survivors’ guide to staying alive in combat territory.

Beyond the Wall: Writing A Path Through Palestine is "an unflinching portrait of life in the West Bank in the 21st Century" (The Observer), seen through the eyes of its activists, its ordinary citizens, its children, its population of international aid workers, reporters and foreign visitors. From my first experience of the caprices and cruelties of checkpoint culture upon entering the West Bank to a final confrontation with the army in Silwan I report, reflect upon and analyse multiple aspects of life in an occupied territory. Covering Bethlehem, Hebron, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Nablus and Nazareth, speaking to children in the refugee camps at Balata and degree students in the lecture halls of Birzeit University, I share observations of Palestinians from all walks of life. I was both shocked by the behaviour of the military and circumspect about many aspects of Palestinian culture. My final vision balances faith in the vigour of the country's young activists, shock at the perverse effects of military occupation on the mentality of the occupied and the occupiers alike and sorrow at seeing the frustration and anger of the country's youngest citizens.