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Extraordinary Rendition
American Writers on Palestine
edited by Ru Freemen

published 2016 • 6" x 9" • 452 pages
ISBN 9781566560603 • paperback • $25.00


This collection brings together the work of sixty-five prominent writers to examine America's culpability in the denial of human rights and dignity to Palestinians in Israel/Palestine and beyond.

It includes pieces by writers such as Chana Bloch, Marilyn Hacker, Jane Hirshfield, Colum McCann, Claire Messud, Roger Reeves, George Saunders and Alice Walker. In writing that is always clear, and often startlingly beautiful, they cover a range of issues including the erasure and reconstruction of histories, the examination of identity, the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of speaking out as artists, the conditions of occupation, and the potential for activism. They also explore the way U.S. foreign policy towards Palestine regularly mirrors the harsh realities faced by many of America's own minorities.

The anthology as a whole counters the dehumanizing narrative about Palestine that has taken hold in the United States, often supported by mainstream news organizations, and makes a significant contribution toward an understanding of the ways people of conscience in general, and writers in particular, can take on one of the most pressing political questions of our time.

All of the writers donated their fee to the Palestinian Festival of Literature, which is also the partial beneficiary of the proceeds of book sales.

Contributors include: Corban Addison, Mariana Aitches, Xhenet Aliu, Ammiel Alcalay, Kazim Ali, Sinan Antoon, Phillip B. Williams, Kafah Bachari, Frank Barat, Matt Bell, Dwayne Betts, Chana Bloch, Nate Brown, Hayan Charara, Teju Cole, Michael Collier, Ted Conover, Ramola Dharmaraj, Marlene Dumas, Mary Jane Nealon, Duranya Freeman, Tess Gallagher, Cristina Garcia, Suzanne Gardinier, David Gorin, Marilyn Hacker, Nathalie Handal, Jane Hirshfield, Fanny Howe, Leslie Jamison, Kim Jensen, Lawrence Joseph, Nancy Kricorian, Rickey Laurentiis, Kiese Laymon, Farid Matuk, Colum McCann, Askold Melnyczuk, Christopher Merrill, Claire Messud, Philip Metres, Peter Mountford, Susan Muaddi Darraj, Dina Omar, Alicia Ostriker, Ed Pavlic, Tomas Q. Morin, Roger Reeves, Alice Rothchild, George Saunders, Jason Schneiderman, Sarah Schulman, Alan Shapiro, Robert Shetterly, Naomi Shihab Nye, Tom Sleigh, Ahdaf Soueif, Adam Stumacher, William Sutcliffe, Janne Teller, Philip Terman, Diego Vazquez Jr., Alice Walker, Steve Willey, Tiphanie Yanique, and Clarence Young.

Ru Freeman is a Sri Lankan born author and activist whose creative and political writing has appeared internationally. She is the author of the novels A Disobedient Girl (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2009) and On Sal Mal Lane (Graywolf, 2013), a New York Times Editor's Choice Book. Both novels have been translated into several languages including Italian, French, Hebrew, and Chinese. She blogs for the Huffington Post on literature and politics, is a contributing editorial board member of the Asian American Literary Review, and has been a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is the 2014 winner of the Sister Mariella Gable Award for Fiction, and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman. 

Media Reviews

“This is a book to be read slowly, deliberately. Though the writing is rich, varied, hard, and lyrical, some of it breathtaking, a treasure house of the sort you want to read out loud just to feel it in the mouth, the prose and poetry found here shape a portrait of the tragedy of two peoples, the Palestinians, whose lives, held so unimportant by the world, daily become more intolerable, and the Israelis, who, through their government’s monstrous policies, are responsible.”
—Consequence Magazine

“This is a book that Americans who believe they’re interested in a ‘just peace’ between Palestinians and Israelis should read. It’s a wide and diverse and eloquent book of witness. And it’s a revelation, and it’s shocking. And it’s tragic.”
—Richard Ford

“The question of Palestine can sometimes feel like a long night of despair. But not with this new collection in sight! Here are witnesses, shining like stars.”
—Amitava Kumar

Extraordinary Rendition stands in the tradition of engaged artists, speaking in defense of liberty and justice—values that ought to be universal but just as often are used as fig leaves by history’s victors. Here, renowned writers turn their words to battered, defiant and beautiful Palestine (a place whose oppressors receive the backing of America, a country whose passport many of these writers hold). It’s a risky stance, but the best art takes risks. Inside find nuance, challenge, empathy deep into the bone.”
—Molly Crabapple

“In Extraordinary Rendition, an eclectic range of American writers break through the stereotypes and distortions of our media and provide a far more nuanced, penetrating and three-dimensional portrait of Palestinians, their history and the political realities they face daily. The range of genres and approaches make this a necessary and timely anthology, and it should be read by as large and wide-ranging an audience as possible.”
—David Mura

Extraordinary Rendition reminds us of the power of art and the necessity of literature. In stories, essays and poems that are as varied and diverse, contradictory and complicated as we are, the writers in this deeply humane anthology shed light and bear witness to the one of the complex conflicts of our time. Ru Freeman has made a book unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s a great contribution to not only to the conversation about Palestine, but to the larger one about peace and justice.”
—Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

“These varied writings—passionate, anguished, wry, intelligent—combine to produce a uniquely complex and powerful testimony. This is an extraordinary political-literary intervention.”
—Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland

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