Palestinian writer Atef Abu Saif is a talented and insightful political scientist, novelist, short-story writer, and editor who lives in Gaza:
1. Still Life: Scenes in Gaza Time (2006), translated by William Hutchins.
This excerpt begins:
He discovered suddenly that Gaza had a sea — a big sea, too. It was blue — like a dark-colored painting — and in the evening the sun resembled a giant orange plunging into the watery abyss as it disappeared into the sea.
Also on WWB, read Abu Saif’s “The City and the Writer” interview about Gaza with Nathalie Handal.
2. An excerpt from The Drone Eats with Me (2014), written originally in English.
This book, a harrowing and memorable chronicle of family life during a siege, was written during the 2014 bombardment of Gaza. The excerpt on LitHub opens:
The children have barely slept in days. Nor has anyone. Sometimes a couple of hours just isn’t enough, especially when the little sleep you get is stretched thin with anxiety. Worry plays like a lightning storm behind your eyelids whenever you close them. Only when that stops do your hands start to relax. Then, finally, sleep starts to gather around you, slowly, like a gentle whirlwind, circling you and your loved ones.
Another excerpt was published by “Short Story Project.”
Also written in 2014:
‘I do not want to be a number’ – Atef Abu Saif in The Slate.
‘The Children Have Barely Slept’ – Atef Abu Saif in Guernica Magazine.
‘We wait each night for death to knock at the door’ – Atef Abu Saif in The Sunday Times.
‘Life Under Fire: Five Days in Gaza’ – from Atef Abu Saif’s war diary in The Guardian.
‘Eight Days in Gaza: Life and Death in the Gaza Strip’ – from Atef Abu Saif’s war diary in The New York Times.
3. Discussing Book of Gaza, the collection of Gazan short stories he edited, and to which he was also a contributor (2014).
4. “Why I Stay in Gaza” (March 2018), written originally in English.
This short opinion piece, published in the NYT this March, begins with a conversation:
“Are you still living there?” he asks.
“Where else should I live?” I answer.
5. “Palestinians do not want to negate Israel. We just want a future” (May 2018), written originally in English.
In this short opinion piece, published on The Guardian, we meet again with Abu Saif’s children, who are older now than they were in The Drone Eats with Me. From The Guardian:
On the first Friday of the Great March of Return I went to the border between Gaza and Israel with my two youngest children, Yasser and Jaffa.