Suad Amiry awarded Italian culture prize

Palestinian writer Suad Amiry

Suad Amiry with fellow Palestinian author Raja Shehadeh at the Palestine Festival of Literature in 2009.

Palfest Flickr

Suad Amiry, the author of a number of best-selling books on contemporary life in occupied West Bank Palestine, has been named as one of the four winners of the 2014 Nonino Prize.

The award, which is described on its website as aiming to “highlight the constant relevance of rustic life,” was judged by an international panel which included the Syrian poet Adonis, British scientist James Lovelock and Irish novelist John Banville. The chair was acclaimed Trinidadian writer V.S. Naipaul.

Amiry was awarded the “Risit d’Âur,” one of four prizes given annually. According to the award press release, the jury wished to recognize her as:

A versatile woman of Palestinian culture who has always been fighting for peace. In search of her roots she has founded the Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation in Ramallah — which she has directed for years — born to protect and catalogue the extraordinary Palestinian artistic heritage and with it the traditions and memory of her people, necessary bases for the construction of a possible future.

As a writer she used the foil with Sharon and My Mother-in-Law, a subtle and ironic book, and the sabre in Murad Murad [published in English as Nothing To Lose But Your Life], a devastating story where she denounces the denied rights and the oppressed dignity of human beings who live with the hope of a future of freedom.

The 2014 Nonino Awards will be presented at a ceremony in the Italian province of Udine on 25 January, where Amiry’s prize will be handed over by Adonis.

The three other prizewinners are Portuguese novelist Antonio Lobo Antunes, Italian psychiatrist Giuseppe Dell’Acqua and French philosopher Michel Serres.

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Sarah Irving

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Sarah is a freelance writer and editor, author of a biography of Leila Khaled and of the Bradt Guide to Palestine, co-editor of A Bird is Not a Stone (a volume of Palestinian poetry translated into the languages of Scotland), and a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh. She has worked and traveled in Palestine since 2001.