Review of Post-Millennial Palestine: Literature, Memory, Resistance Edited by Rachel Gregory Fox and Ahmad Qabaha

Syrine Hout


Coinciding with the onset of the Arab Spring in 2011 and the protests that continued to sweep across the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, the past decade has seen a growing number of English-language studies dealing with Palestinian literature. Some scholars trace specific genres, like the short story or the novel, as aesthetic and political creations in relation to pivotal moments in Palestinian history—the 1948 Nakba, the 1967 Naksa, the 1987-93 First Intifada, and the 2000-05 Second Intifada (Farag 2016; Abu- Manneh 2016)—while others examine Palestinian writings in conjunction with other media (film) or national literatures (American, Israeli) within wider theoretical frameworks, such as postcolonial feminism, diasporic studies, or world literature (Ball 2012; Qabaha 2018; Lustig 2019). Much more scholarship is in the pipeline, as seen in the notes on the contributors to Post-Millennial Palestine: Literature, Memory, and Resistance. This edited volume of ten essays is a welcome and timely contribution to this critical corpus. Its most unique feature is its focus on mainly 21st century literary productions by second- or third-generation survivors of the Nakba; relatively new writers who are equally yet differently invested in the cause and idea of Palestine when compared to canonical authors such as Mahmoud Darwish, Emile Habibi, Fadwa Tuqan, Samira Azzam, and Ghassan Kanafani, to mention but a few. Post-Millennial Palestine takes as its starting point the derailed Oslo Accords of 1993, which could not but have induced a contemporary sensibility and poetics in the face of the failed peace process and the relentless encroachment on Palestinian land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, accompanied by daily violations of the human and political rights of the occupied. This collection was published only a few months before the latest as- sault on Gaza in May 2021, a tragic event which, in cities around the world, triggered enormous shows of solidarity with Palestinians, as well as a renewed commitment to their just cause for statehood (whether through a one-state or a two-state solution).

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Abu-Manneh, Bashir. 2016. The Palestinian Novel: From 1948 to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ball, Anna. 2012. Palestinian Literature and Film in Postcolonial Feminist Perspective. London: Routledge.

Fadda-Conrey, Carol. 2014. Contemporary Arab-American Literature: Transnational Reconfigurations of Citizenship and Belonging. New York: New York University Press.

Farag, Joseph. 2016. Politics and Palestinian Literature in Exile: Gender, Aesthetics and Resistance in the Short Story. London: I.B. Tauris.

Lustig, Kfir Cohen. 2019. Makers of Worlds, Readers of Signs: Israeli and Palestinian Literature of the Global Contemporary. London: Verso.

Pappé, Ilan. 2015. “The Old and New Conversations.” In On Palestine, edited by Frank Barat, 9-46. London: Haymarket Books.

Qabaha, Ahmad. 2018. Exile and Expatriation in Modern American and Palestinian Writing. London: Palgrave Macmillan.



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