Sumūd: A New Palestinian Reader


Essays, memoir, fiction, poetry, and art from The Markaz Review

Includes twenty-five black-and-white illustrations by Palestinian artists.

An anthology that celebrates the power of culture in Palestinian resistance, with selections of memoir, short stories, essays, book reviews, personal narrative, poetry, and art.

The Arabic word sumūd is often loosely translated as “steadfastness” or “standing fast.” It is, above all, a Palestinian cultural value of everyday perseverance in the face of Israeli occupation. Sumūd is both a personal and collective commitment; people determine their own lives, despite the environment of constant oppressions imposed upon them.

This anthology spans the 20th and 21st centuries of Palestinian cultural history, and highlights writing from 2021–2024. The collection of writing and art features work from forty-six contributors including:

  • Dispatches from Hossam Madhoun, co-founder of Gaza's Theatre for Everybody, as he survives the post-October 2023 war on Gaza;
  • Novelist Ahmed Masoud with “Application 39,” a sci-fi short story about a Dystopian bid for the Olympics;
  • Sara Roy and Ivar Ekeland with “The New Politics of Exclusion: Gaza as Prologue,” an analysis of Israel’s divide and conquer policies of fragmentation;
  • Historian Ilan Pappé with a review of Tahrir Hamdi’s book, Imagining Palestine, in which he unpacks the relationship between culture and resistance;
  • Essayist Lina Mounzer with “Palestine and the Unspeakable,” an offering on the language used to dehumanize Palestinians;
  • And poetry by the next generation of poets who have inherited the mantle of the late Mahmoud Darwish (1941–2008).

The essays, stories, poetry, art and personal narrative collected in Sumūd: A New Palestinian Reader is a rich riposte to those who would denigrate Palestinians’ aspirations for a homeland. It also serves as a timely reminder of culture’s power and importance during occupation and war.

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