A Palestinian writer won an award for writing a novel after being imprisoned in an Israeli prison for 20 years

Last Updated on May 1, 2024 3:37 am

Palestinian writer Basim Khandakji has been imprisoned in Israel for 20 years. This year the jailed writer won the prestigious award for Arabic fiction for ‘A Mask, The Color of the Sky’. News from the Times of Israel

The winners of the 2024 International Prize for Arabic Fiction have been announced in Abu Dhabi. Rana Idris, owner of Dar al-Adab, a Lebanese publisher of his books, accepted the award on Basim’s behalf.

The novel ‘A Mask, The Color of the Sky’ was published in 2023.

In the novel A Mask, Bassem Khandakji tells the story of Noor, an archaeologist living in a Palestinian refugee camp in Ramallah, West Bank. The hero of this story, Noor, one day found a blue identity card in the pocket of an old coat and assumed another identity behind his identity. Basically he wears a ‘Mukhosh’ in his second role.

Khandakji was born in 1983 in Nablus in the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank. He was imprisoned in Israel in 2004 at the age of 21. But he did not sit idly in prison. He holds an advanced degree in Political Science from Al-Quds University and also did a thesis on ‘Israel Studies’. Apart from this, he has published several poetry collections and novels.

Basim’s book was selected as the winner out of 133 works submitted in the competition.

Nabeel Suleiman, who served on the jury, said the novel ‘demonstrates the complex, bitter reality of family breakdown, displacement, genocide and apartheid.’

Since his imprisonment, Basim has written several books including ‘Rituals of the First Time’ and ‘The Breath of a Nocturnal Poem’. Basim wrote several short stories before he was jailed at the age of 21.

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