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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Book cover for Sumūd
Book cover for Sumūd

An anthology that celebrates the power of culture in Palestinian resistance, with selections of memoir, short stories, essays, book reviews, personal narrative, poetry, and art.

Includes twenty-five black-and-white illustrations by Palestinian artists.

The Arabic word sumūd is often loosely translated as “steadfastness” or “standing fast.” It is, above all, a Palestinian cultural value of everyday perseverance in the face of Israeli occupation. Sumūd is both a personal and collective commitment; people determine their own lives, despite the environment of constant oppressions imposed upon them. 

This anthology spans the 20th and 21st centuries of Palestinian cultural history, and highlights writing from 2021–2024. The collection of writing and art features work from forty-six contributors including:

- Dispatches from Hossam Madhoun, co-founder of Gaza's Theatre for Everybody, as he survives the post-October 2023 war on Gaza;

- Novelist Ahmed Masoud with “Application 39,” a sci-fi short story about a Dystopian bid for the Olympics;

- Sara Roy and Ivar Ekeland with “The New Politics of Exclusion: Gaza as Prologue,” an analysis of Israel’s divide and conquer policies of fragmentation;

- Historian Ilan Pappé with a review of Tahrir Hamdi’s book, Imagining Palestine, in which he unpacks the relationship between culture and resistance;

- Essayist Lina Mounzer with “Palestine and the Unspeakable,” an offering on the language used to dehumanize Palestinians;

- And poetry by the next generation of poets who have inherited the mantle of the late Mahmoud Darwish (1941–2008).

The essays, stories, poetry, art and personal narrative collected in Sumūd: A New Palestinian Reader is a rich riposte to those who would denigrate Palestinians’ aspirations for a homeland. It also serves as a timely reminder of culture’s power and importance during occupation and war.

Book cover for Sumūd
Book cover for Sumūd

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MALU HALASA, Literary Editor at The Markaz Review, is a Jordanian Filipina American writer and editor. Her latest edited anthology is Woman Life Freedom: Voices and Art From the Women’s Protests in Iran (Saqi Books, 2023). Previous co-edited anthologies include: Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline (Saqi Books, 2014); The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie: Intimacy and Design (Chronicle Books, 2008); Kaveh Golestan: Recording the Truth in Iran (Hatje Cantz, 2005); and the short series: Transit Beirut: New Writing and Images, with Rosanne Khalaf (Saqi Books, 2004), and Transit Tehran: Young Iran and Its Inspirations, with Maziar Bahari, (Garnet Press, 2008). She was managing editor of the Prince Claus Fund Library, in Amsterdam; Editor at Large for Portal 9, in Beirut, and a founding editor of Tank Magazine, in London. She has written for The Guardian, Financial Times and Times Literary Supplement. Her debut novel, Mother of All Pigs (Unnamed Press, 2017), was described as: “a microcosmic portrait of … a patriarchal order in slow-motion decline” by the New York Times. Her writing, edited anthologies, and exhibitions chart a changing Middle East.

Author photo of Jordan Elgrably. Taken by Sandrine Arons.

JORDAN ELGRABLY is a Franco-American and Moroccan writer and translator, whose stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous anthologies and reviews, including ApuléeSalmagundi, and The Paris Review. He is the editor of Stories from the Center of the World: New Middle East Fiction (City Lights 2024) and co-editor with Malu Halasa of Sumūd: a New Palestinian Reader (Seven Stories Press 2024). He attended the American University of Paris and cut his teeth as a journalist based in Paris, writing for the International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Libération and other publications, and in Madrid, where he wrote for El País, El Europeo, Vogue et alia. He was the founder and director of the Levantine Cultural Center/The Markaz in Los Angeles (2001-2020), and producer of the play Sarah’s War (written by Valerie Dillman), as well as the stand-up comedy show The Sultans of Satire (2005-2017), along with hundreds of other public programs, including a series of concerts in the World Festival of Sacred Music Los Angeles, launched by the Dalai Lama. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Rachel Corrie Conscience and Courage Award from the ADC, an Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship, and grants from Open Society Foundations and Hawthornden. He is based in Montpellier, France and California.