Raja Shehadeh Is a Finalist for the National Book Award

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Widely considered Palestine’s leading writer, Raja Shehadeh is a lawyer, activist, and founder of the human rights organization Al-Haq. The winner of the Orwell Prize and many other accolades, Shehadeh’s most recent book, We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I: A Palestinian Memoir (published by Other Press), is a finalist for this year’s National Book Award in nonfiction.

In beautifully written prose Shehadeh has chronicled the Palestinian experience and life in the occupied territories through the lens of his own life. Shehadeh offers both hope for a better future and a critical perspective, including in his recent writings about the Israel-Hamas war in the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, and The Guardian. His writing has been called “profoundly personal and historically significant” and infused with “moral clarity” (The New York Times). In a piece for The Atlantic, Shehadeh continued to express hope, writing “and yet, as bad as things are, I feel compelled to resist giving in to despair. I may be clutching at straws, but I feel a moral responsibility to seek any grounds for hope.”

The New Press is proud to have published two illuminating and moving memoirs by Raja Shehadeh. We’re celebrating his National Book Award nomination by sharing excerpts.

Where the Line Is Drawn: A Tale of Crossings, Friendships, and Fifty Years of Occupation in Israel-Palestine
By Raja Shehadeh

In Where the Line Is Drawn, Shehadeh explores how occupation has affected him personally, chronicling the various crossings that he undertook into Israel over a period of fifty years to visit friends and family, to enjoy the sea, to argue before the Israeli courts, and to negotiate failed peace agreements. In this excerpt, Shehadeh recounts his experience of crossing the borders during the Second Intifada and how those events impacted his relationships.


Going Home: A Walk Through Fifty Years of Occupation
By Raja Shehadeh
Winner of the Moore Prize for Writing on Human Rights, Going Home is a dazzling mix of reportage, analysis, and memoir that reflects on aging, failure, the occupation, and the changing face of Ramallah. Set in a single day—the day that happens to be the fiftieth anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza—the book is a powerful and moving record and chronicle of the changing face of his city that is haunted by memory and lightened by the joys of everyday life. In this excerpt from Going Home, Shehadeh reflects upon the Ramallah of his youth.





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Article related book(s): 
Going Home
Where the Line Is Drawn