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The Book of Ramallah (Reading The City)

The Book of Ramallah (Reading The City)

Author(s): Maya Abu Al-Hayat (editor)

Location(s): Ramallah, West Bank

Genre(s): Short Stories

Era(s): 1967 onwards

Location

Content

A coffee seller waits all day for one of his customers to ask him how he is, until eventually he just tells the city itself…

A teenager is ordered off a bus at a checkpoint and told he must kiss a complete stranger if he wants the bus to be let through…

A woman pilgrimages to the Cave of the Prophets, to pray for rain for her tiny patch of land, knowing it will take more than water to save it…

Unlike most other Palestinian cities, Ramallah is a relatively new town, a de facto capital of the West Bank allowed to thrive after the Oslo Peace Accords, but just as quickly hemmed in and suffocated by the Occupation as the Accords have failed. Perched along the top of a mountainous ridge, it plays host to many contradictions: traditional Palestinian architecture jostling against aspirational developments and cultural initiatives; a thriving nightlife in one district, with much more conservative, religious attitudes in the next. Most striking however as these stories show is the quiet dignity, resilience and humour of its people; citizens who take their lives into their hands every time they travel from one place to the next, who continue to live through countless sieges, and yet still find the time, and composure, to create.

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Book Reviews

Lead Review

Author: Tina Hartas

Ramallah is a Palestinian city perched high on a hill in the occupied West Bank. It is a city that is both ancient and modern – and has become well known in recent years...

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021