Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury, winner of the prestigious Mahmoud Darwish Award for Creativity 2016, donated his $25,000 award to Birzeit University.Khoury was cited both for his large and diverse literary output and for his attention to Palestine, which has been a cornerstone of his writing and activism.
University president Abdel Latif Abu Hijleh said, according to WAFA, “Elias Khoury has been a long-standing supporter of the Palestinian cause. He is a man of great thought who has made tremendous literary contributions to the Palestinian liberation struggle.”
Khoury is a Lebanese novelist, playwright, critic and a prominent public intellectual, who has published ten novels, which have been translated into several foreign languages, as well as several works of literary criticism.
He has written three plays and served as editor of Al-Mulhaq, the weekly cultural supplement of the Lebanese daily newspaper Al-Nahar between 1993 and 2009.
Khoury currently teaches literature at New York University and is co-editor of the Majallat al-Dirasat al-Filastiniyya, published by the Institute of Palestine Studies.
Abu Hijleh said, “Khoury’s generous gift is just one more example of his leadership in the educational and intellectual arenas, and devotion to the Palestinian cause.”
The Mahmoud Darwish Awards were announced in Jordan, on the anniversary of the poet’s birth, and awarded to – in addition to Khoury – Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan and American novelist Alice Walker. Each prizewinner was awarded $25,000.
Zaqtan was awarded this prize for his great knowledge of poetic tradition and his modernism, while Walker won for both her novels (The Color Purple in particular) and her anti-racism activism.
Faisal Darraj led the judging committee, which consisted of other members, namely Egyptian writers Ibrahim Abdel Maguid, Sa’eed Kafrawi, and Amani Fuad, Jordanian writers Hisham Bustani, Basma al-Nsour, and Jamal Naji, Lebanese novelist Jabbour Douaihy, Mahmoud’s brother Zaki Darwish, Palestinian writer Akram Musallam, and the Iraqi short-story writer Luay Hamza Abbas.
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