Ghassan Zaqtan  

(1954-)Palestine

Ghassan Zaqtan is a Palestinian poet, novelist and editor. He is author of eleven collections of poetry. Born in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, he has lived in Jordan, Beirut, Damascus, and Tunis, and currently resides in Ramallah. His book Like a Straw Bird it Follows Me translated by Fady Joudah was awarded the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2013. In recognition of his achievement and contribution to Arabic and Palestinian literature, Ghassan Zaqtan was awarded the National Medal of Honor by the Palestinian president in June the same year. He was also nominated among the short-listed winners of the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, an award sponsored by the University of Oklahoma and perceived as the American equivalent for the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the 2015 Sheikh Zayid Literature Prize. His name appeared for the first time in the fall of 2013 on the speculation list for the Nobel Prize for Literature. His work has been translated into English, French, Italian, Norwegian, German and other languages. He was the editor of Al-Shoua’ra from 2000 to 2004 and director of the House of Poetry. He is also a consultant for cultural policies in the Welfare Association and a member of the executive board of the Mahmand Darwish Foundation. He writes a weekly column in Al-Ayyam newspaper and the Emirate 24, and is the editor of the quarterly cultural magazine Palestinian Narrative. His father, Khalil Zaqtan, was also a poet.

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