The interviews on this page are with writers who have a link with Gaza: they either live there, have lived there, or are part of its extended diaspora. We asked the authors to reflect on their experience of writing Gaza’s everyday spaces, via questions on its built environment, living under surveillance, the meaning of ‘home’, and the creative process, among other related topics.
Interview with Basma Ghalayini, editor of Palestine +100 (Manchester: Comma Press, 2019)
Basma Ghalayini is editor of the award-winning short story collection, Palestine +100, probably the first anthology of science fiction from Palestine ever. She also works as an editor and translator for Comma Press, which publishes a high number of the contemporary Palestinian literary texts that can be found in English today. We caught up with her near the Comma Press offices in Manchester, where she has lived since 2010. In this interview, Ghalayini, originally from Gaza, speaks about everyday space in the Strip in relation to her experience editing the anthology, touching on science fiction, storytelling, dystopia and more.
Interview with Ahmed Masoud, author of Vanished: The Mysterious Disappearance of Mustafa Ouda (Rimal, 2015) and Come What May (Victorina, 2022)
Ahmed Masoud is a novelist and playwright from Gaza. He comes from a refugee family and grew up in Jabalia Camp, Gaza’s biggest refugee camp. His newest novel, Come What May (2022) is a crime thriller rooted in Gaza’s everyday spaces, and his debut novel, Vanished (2015) has been widely praised. In 2019, Masoud staged a unique protest at the bombing of the Said al-Mishal Cultural Centre in Gaza, advertising and then cancelling his play, Obliterated, with actor Maxine Peake. This interview covers topics from the meaning of ‘home’ to everyday life amidst Gaza’s ‘concrete box’ architecture, and ends with a short reading from Vanished.
Interview with Nayrouz Qarmout, author of The Sea Cloak (Comma Press, 2018)
Nayrouz Qarmout is a journalist, author and women’s rights campaigner. Born in Yarmouk Refugee Camp, Damascus, in 1984, as a Palestinian refugee, she was ‘returned’ to the Gaza Strip at the age of 11 as part of the 1994 Oslo Peace Accord, where she now lives. Nayrouz’s award-winning debut short story collection, The Sea Cloak (Comma Press, 2018) features a range of stories about life in Gaza narrated from from the perspective of women and young girls. We spoke to Qarmout at the Mosaic Rooms, London, in November 2021, where she was completing a Residency supported by English PEN and the British Council. In this interview, Qarmout speaks about everyday life in Gaza, its built environment, living under drones, and the meaning of the sea to Gaza’s people.