Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation publishing and delfina foundation announce winner of Arab writing residency programme

Press release
Published March 5th, 2015 - 04:40 GMT

Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing (BQFP), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development (QF), and Delfina Foundation are pleased to announce the winner of the Arab Writer’s Residency programme in London this summer.

After careful consideration of more than 150 applications, the panel of judges chose Atef Abu Saif, a Palestinian writer and journalist living in the Gaza Strip, whose most recent novel made it on the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) 2015 shortlist. 

The eight-week residency will provide Abu Saif with the opportunity to research, write and engage with a broad range of cultural practitioners, as well as creative thinkers in London. During the residency, Abu Saif will develop work, which will be considered for publication by BQFP in both Arabic and English translation.

BQFP, a joint collaboration between Qatar Foundation and Bloomsbury Publishing in London, supports QF on its mission to preserve and develop the Arabic language, promoting education and a culture of knowledge-seeking. UK-based Delfina Foundation provides residency space in London dedicated to developing creative practice for artists, curators, writers, musicians and thinkers.  

“We were thrilled with the sheer volume of submissions and were deeply impressed by the quality, originality and range of the writing samples,” said Thalia Suzuma, Head of English Publishing at BQFP.

“It is very encouraging to see how many writers from the region are eager to cultivate their talent and connect with other artists. Delfina Foundation and BQFP are proud to have awarded the residency to Atef Abu Saif, a talented emerging voice from the region who will be completing his final work in Arabic.

Added Aaron Cezar, founding director of Delfina Foundation. “Delfina Foundation is honoured to be partnering with the BQFP on this amazing residency opportunity. As we have experienced at Delfina Foundation, a residency can be a career-defining moment for artists, writers, and curators to develop their ideas, sharpen their practice and widen their networks. We are excited to offer this important opportunity to Atef Abu Saif and to help build the next generation of contemporary writers from the Middle East.”

Born in Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip in 1973, Abu Saif currently teaches Political Science at the University of Al-Azhar, Gaza, and regularly writes articles from Gaza for the New York Times, Slate and other major publications. He has also authored five novels, the most recent of which, A Suspended Life, was shortlisted for the IPAF award in 2015. The winner of the award will be announced at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in May.

Background Information

Qatar Foundation

Qatar Foundation (QF) is a non-profit organization made up of more than 50 entities working in education, research, and community development.

Our unique ecosystem—supported by partnerships with leading international institutions—is built on initiatives that address our most pressing challenges, create global opportunities, and empower people to shape our present and future.

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