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Omar Khalifah is joining the agency

We are happy to announce that Omar Khalifah is joining the Monte-charge culturel. Of Palestinian background, Omar Khalifah grew up in Jordan. He holds a PhD from Columbia University, and currently teaches Arabic literature and culture at Georgetown University’s Qatar campus. His previous publications include Nasser in the Egyptian Imaginary (Edinburgh University Press, 2017) and a short story collection in Arabic, Ka’annani Ana (As if I Were Myself), published in Amman in 2010. His first novel, Sand-catcher, was published in Jordan in 2020 by Dar al-Ahlia. Its foreign rights are currently available.

Synopsis of Sand-catcher

What would it mean to successive generations of Palestinians and to the world at large, if an eye-witness of the Nakba (the destruction of the Palestinian state and displacement of a majority of the Palestinian arabs) kept silent, refusing to divulge his memories even to those closest to him—his own family members—much less the general public? Omar Khalifah raises this question in his novel Sand-catcher, published in Jordan in 2020.

The events of the novel turn upon the travails of four Palestinian journalists, employed at a Jordanian newspaper and tasked with producing a report for the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the cataclysm that upended Palestine in 1948. They are initially confident in the outcome of their assignment to interview an elderly Palestinian who is the last surviving member of his family to have witnessed the catastrophe known as the Nakba. Very soon, however, they are rudely confronted by his seemingly perverse refusal to speak to them—or to anyone—about his background. After the journalists’ feet are held to the fire by their editor-in-chief, they grow increasingly desperate to wrest the old man’s story from him.

In a narrative laced with humor that turns darker as tensions rise, Khalifah presents characters united by their Palestinian roots, but ultimately divided by their own weaknesses, as the unfolding of events exposes their ambition, lust, egotism, and more. In the end, will they succeed in extracting the old man’s tale—and, if so, then at what cost?

« Omar Khalifah surprises his readers with tightly-wrought prose, succinct and dense. » Katia Tawil, The Independent

World rights represented by Le monte-charge culturel (excl. Arabic)

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