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Save the date: April 2017!

One Book, Many Communities: “Returning to Haifa” by Ghassan Kanafani. (Find it in the story collection Palestine’s Children: Returning to Haifa and Other Stories.)

Librarians and Archivists with Palestine invites you to join our annual international reading campaign, One Book, Many Communities held in April 2017, in concurrence with the national Reading Week in Palestine. This year’s reading is “Returning to Haifaby Ghassan Kanafani, a novella that can be found in the collection Palestine’s Children: Returning to Haifa and Other Stories.

Kanafani was a Palestinian author, educator, journalist and a leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Kanafani was also the author of the highly acclaimed short story “Men in the Sun,” which can be found in the collection Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories. “Returning to Haifa” tells the story of a couple that was forced to flee Haifa in 1948 and is returning for the first time in 20 years. Their feelings of displacement are accompanied by grief for the son they had to leave behind.

This project draws inspiration from the “one book, one town” idea, wherein people in local communities come together to read and discuss a common book. Librarians and Archivists with Palestine invites readers, librarians, and others to organize gatherings to discuss “Returning to Haifa” by Ghassan Kanafani. This campaign is designed to introduce readers to the richness of Palestinian literature, and create a broader awareness and understanding of Palestinian history and the struggle for self-determination.

Please join us! If you’re interested in organizing a reading group in your community, please contact us and check back for more information. Book groups can be held at a library, university or school, at a local non-profit organization or community center, in your living room, or at a bookstore. If you schedule your event for the month of April 2017, you’ll be connected to readers across the globe who will be reading and discussing the book at the same time. Use your imagination! And let us know what you’re planning!

Librarians and Archivists with Palestine is a network of self-defined librarians, archivists, and information workers in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. The hashtag for the campaign is: #lap1book.

Listen to this recording of the 2017 launch in London, featuring comments by Professor Gilbert Achcar of the University of London’s Centre for Palestine Studies and Khaled Ziada, head of the Palestine Film Foundation.

Previous One Book, Many Communities events:


2016: Sharon and My Mother-in-Law by Suad Amiry. Suad Amiry writes with humor and insight about the realities of life under occupation. From falling in love across borders to dealing with deliberately inscrutable Israeli policies, Amiry’s “Ramallah Diaries” will have you laughing and crying in the same breath.

2015: Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa. Mornings in Jenin is a sweeping, heart-wrenching historical saga about four generations of the Abulheja family. From Jenin to Jerusalem to Beirut to Philadelphia, the novel follows the family from its displacement from Ein Hod village in 1948 through love and loss over decades of life in Palestine and the diaspora.

Every now and again a literary work changes the way people think. Abulhawa…has crafted a brilliant first novel about Palestine… [This] intensely beautiful fictionalized history… should be read by both politicians and those interested in contemporary politics. – Library Journal