Palestinian Literature

The covers to the three books to read next

Naomi Shihab Nye

Sitti’s Secrets

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

I remember coming across this beautifully written (and illustrated) children’s book when I was a high schooler in Beirut. Despite being older than its intended audience, I reread it countless times. Naomi Shihab Nye perfectly captures the bittersweet family dynamics that exist in diaspora and the task of loving people despite barriers of oceans, languages, and time zones (see WLT, Jan. 2014).


Suheir Hammad

breaking poems

Cypher Books

Suheir Hammad’s latest collection of poetry is an explosive work of past and present, dislocation and home, intimacy and politics, resulting in pieces that are both visually and sonically evocative. The book meditates on the concept of breaking as it relates to female bodies, Palestinian land, the human spirit.



Randa Jarrar

Him, Me, Muhammad Ali

Sarabande Books

The piercing, irreverent stories in Randa Jarrar’s debut collection don’t shy away from the awkward or painful (or even the occasionally surreal) and are infused with vividly nuanced characters, many of them Arab and female. Their lives are flawed and paradoxical, and Jarrar unflinchingly tackles the messiness of familial disappointment, love, and sex.

Hala Alyan is a Palestinian American writer and clinical psychologist whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times, Guernica, and elsewhere. Her poetry collections have won the Arab American Book Award and the Crab Orchard Series. Her debut novel, Salt Houses, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017 and won the Arab American Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her newest novel, The Arsonist’s City, was recently published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.