Adam and his family flee Syria and arrive at the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. Conditions in this overcrowded Palestinian camp are tough, and violence defines many of the relationships: a father fights to save his daughter, a gang leader plots to expand his influence, and drugs break up a family. Adam struggles to make sense of his refugee experience, but then he meets Shatha and starts to view the camp through her eyes.
Most novels are written by professionals using second hand material. Not this one. The editors have taken nine refugees, taught them the basics of creative writing, and asked them to tell their "Shatila Stories". The result is a miracle - a piece of collaborative fiction unlike any other. If you want to understand the chaos of the Middle East - or you just want to follow the course of a beautiful love story - start here.
'I want to hear their stories and see if their imaginations can open up a new path of understanding between us. Collaborative works of literature can achieve what no other literature can do. By pooling our imaginations we are able to access something totally different and new that goes beyond boundaries - that of the individual, of nations, of cultures. It connects us to our common human essence: our creativity. Let's make stories, not more war.' Meike Ziervogel, Peirene Press
Authors: Omar Khaled Ahmad, Nibal Alalo, Safa Khaled Algharbawi, Omar Abdellatif Alndaf, Rayan Mohamad Sukkar, Safiya Badran, Fatima Omar Ghazawi, Samih Mahmoud, Hiba Mareb. Translated by: Nashwa Gowanlock
Nine Syrian and Palestinian refugees took part in a creative writing workshop run by Peirene in 2017 in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. Afterwards, the participants were commissioned to create a piece of collaborative literature. The group consists of six women and three men between the ages of 20 and 43. Some have a university degree, others have never completed their formal schooling. Most have arrived in Beirut from Syria over the last five years, and a couple are second and third generation Palestinian refugees who were born in Shatila. Their names are: Omar Khaled Ahmad, Nibal Alalo, Safa Khaled Algharbawi, Omar Abdellatif Alndaf, Rayan Mohamad Sukkar, Safiya Badran, Fatima Omar Ghazawi, Samih Mahmoud, Hiba Mareb.