Covering a range of approaches – from SF noir, to nightmarish dystopia, to high-tech farce – these stories use the blank canvas of the future to reimagine the Palestinian experience today. Along the way, we encounter drone swarms, digital uprisings, time-bending VR, peace treaties that span parallel universes, and even a Palestinian superhero, in probably the first anthology of science fiction from Palestine ever.
Translated from the Arabic by Raph Cormack, Mohamed Ghalaieny, Andrew Leber, Thoraya El-Rayyes, Yasmine Seale and Jonathan Wright.
WINNER of a PEN Translates Award 2018
'It's necessary, of course. But above all it's bold, brilliant and inspiring: a sign of boundless imagination and fierce creation even in circumstances of oppression, denial, silencing and constriction. The voices of these writers demand to be heard - and their stories are defiantly entertaining.' - Bidisha
Mazen Maarouf (born 1978) is a writer, poet, translator and journalist. Maarouf holds a bachelor degree in General
Chemistry from the Lebanese University (Faculty of Sciences). He has published two collections of short stories Jokes for the Gunmen (translated into English by Jonathan Wright, and winner of the inaugural Al-Multaqa Prize for the Arabic Short Story), and Rats that Licked the Karate Champion’s Ear. He has also published three collections of poetry: The Camera Doesn’t Capture Birds, Our Grief Resembles Bread and An Angel
Suspended On a Clothesline (2012). He also works as a translator into Arabic. In 1948 all four of his grandparents (as well as his father who was six years old at the time) fled the village of Deir Al Qasi in the mountains of Galilee and travelled on foot to Lebanon. His parents lived in Tel El-Zaatar refugee camp until the late seventies when they had to flee again at the start of the Lebanese civil war.
Tasnim Abutabikh (born 1996) grew up in Gaza and graduated from Al-Azhar University, before moving to the
United States in 2018, where she now works as a dentist. In 2015, she was a winner in the Novell Gaza Short Story Award, and was published in Novell Gaza 2. Her grandfather was living in Kofakha at the time of the Nakba, although her great-grandfather was originally from Gaza City.
Emad El-Din Aysha (born 1974) is an academic, journalist, and translator and an author, currently stationed in Cairo. Having received a BA in economics and philosophy and an MA and PhD in international studies from the University of Sheffield, he currently teaches across a range of subjects, from international politics to Arab society, at various universities in Egypt. He’s a regular commentator on Middle Eastern politics, an avid fan of history and science fiction, and a film reviewer and columnist for publications like The Levant, The Egyptian
Gazette, Daily News Egypt and Mada Masr. He was born in the UK to a Palestinian father, from the Akka region.
Selma Dabbagh (born 1970) is a British Palestinian writer of fiction living in London. She grew up between the UK, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and has also lived in Bahrain, Egypt, the West Bank and France. Her first novel, Out of It (Bloomsbury, 2012) was a Guardian Book of the Year. Several of Selma’s short stories and plays have won, or been nominated for awards. Her writing has been published by Granta, The Guardian, International PEN,
the London Review of Books, the British Council and Saqi Books. Her radio plays have been produced by the BBC and WDR. Her father’s family is from Jaffa.
Saleem Haddad (born 1983) is a writer and aid worker, who has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières and other
organisations in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and Turkey. His debut novel, Guapa was published in 2016, won the 2017 Polari Prize and was awarded a Stonewall Honour. His essays have appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, LitHub, and the LARB, among others. He was born in Kuwait City to an Iraqi-German mother and a Palestinian-Lebanese father, and currently based in Lisbon. His paternal grandparents were both from Nazareth, and fled to Beirut in 1948, where they later met and fell in love.
Anwar Hamed (born 1957) is a Palestinian novelist, poet, and literary critic born. With a master’s degree in literature theory, he lives in London and works for the BBC World Service. He speaks Arabic, English and Hungarian, in addition to French and a little Turkish, Persian and Hebrew. He has published eight novels in Arabic, and a number of other works in Hungarian, and has contributed to a number of non-fiction titles, most recently: Being Palestinian: Personal Reflections on Palestinian Identity in the Diaspora, edited by Yasir Suleiman. His
novel Jaffa Makes the Morning Coffee was longlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). His most recent novel is Shijan (published in Arabic in March 2019). He was born in Anabta in the West Bank near Tulkarm, where his family comes from.
Majd Kayal (born 1990) studied philosophy and political science in Jerusalem and is currently an editor at Metras and a writer at the Arab Ambassador. His first novel, The Tragedy of Mr. Matar (El Ahlia, 2016) won the Qattan Young Writer Prize, and his first collection of short stories Death in Haifa came out this year. He was born in Haifa to a displaced family from the village of Birwa.
Abdalmuti Maqboul (born 1987) studied graphic design at Al-Najah National University in Nablus and has a master’s degree in management and international relations from the University of Ankara, in Turkey. He is a lecturer at the Ummah College in Jerusalem. An extract from his forthcoming novel Al-Mukhtalson (The Embezzlers) has been serialised in Specimen magazine, and translated into Spanish and Italian. He was born and lives in Nablus.
Ahmed Masoud (born 1981) is a writer and director who grew up in Palestine and moved to the UK in 2002. His
debut novel Vanished: The Mysterious Disappearance of Mustafa Ouda won the Muslim Writers Awards. His theatre credits include The Shroud Maker, Camouflage, Walaa, Loyalty, Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea and Escape from Gaza. He is the founder of Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre, for whom he has written wrote and directed several productions for the London stage, and subsequent European tours. Following his PhD research, he has published numerous academic articles, including a chapter in Britain and the Muslim World: A Historical Perspective
(Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011). His family is originally from Dayr Sunayd.
Talal Abu Shawish (born 1967) is Assistant Director of the Boys Preparatory School for Refugees in Gaza. He has
published three short story collections – The Rest are Not For Sale, The Assassination of a Painting (2010) and Goodbye, Dear Prophets (2011) – as well as four novels: We Deserve a Better Death (2012), Middle Eastern Nightmares (2013), Seasons of Love and Blood (2014), and Urban House (2018). His work has won three awards (the Ministry of Youth and Sports’ Short Story Competition in 1996 and 1997, and the Italian Sea That
Connects Award, 1998). Shawish was President of the Association of New Prospects for Community Development, 2007-2011, and is a member of the Palestinian Writers Union. He was born in Nuseirat Refugee Camp. Until they had to flee in 1948, his father lived in the town of Beer el Sabea, and his mother in the village of Barqa.
Rawan Yaghi (born 1994) is a Gaza-based writer. She was a member at the Qattan Centre for the Child, where she used online resources to start her own blog. In 2011, her love of writing and languages led her to start a degree in English Literature at the Islamic University of Gaza. She was awarded the Junior Members’ Scholarship by Jesus College, University of Oxford, to pursue an undergraduate degree in Italian and Linguistics. She contributed to the 2014 anthology Gaza Writes Back, and has just been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study journalism in New York. Her family originates from Al Masmiyya Al Kabira.
Samir El-Youssef (born 1965) has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in philosophy from the University of London, having lived in the city since 1990. He is the author of nine novels and collections of stories, including Gaza Blues with Etgar Keret. He has published in magazines and newspapers such as Al-Hayat, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Nizwa, Al-Ghardeen, New Testament and Jewish Chronicle. He was awarded the Tucholsky Prize by the Swedish (Ben) Commission for the year 2005. He was born in Rashidieh, a Palestinian refugee camp in southern
Lebanon in 1965, his family having been displaced from the village of al-Bassa in Acre, northern Palestine.
Basma Ghalyini (born 1983) has previously translated short fiction from the Arabic for the KFW Stifflung series, Beirut Short Stories, published on addastories.org, and Comma projects, such as Banthology and The Book of Cairo (edited by Raph Cormack). She was born in Khan Younis, and spent her early childhood in the UK until the age of five, before returning to the Gaza Strip.
He is Palestinian, she Israeli and they live in London, a city they explore and grow to love. They delight in living against the political tide and in confounding people’s assumptions. But, as the situation in the Middle East deteriorates, so it inevitably impinges on their life together and they struggle to maintain their relationship. It is the family secret that Ibrahim finally reveals that threatens to engulf them forever.