“My political position springs from my being a novelist. Insofar as I am concerned, politics and the novel are an indivisible case and I can categorically state that I became politically committed because I am a novelist, not the opposite.” Ghassan Kanafani
We are proud to announce the launch of the first annual Ghassan Kanafani Scholarship. This scholarship would not have been possible without supporters like you. We are thrilled to offer this creative arts and writing scholarship to Palestinian youth in the diaspora. Read more below for background on the scholarship and details for application.
1. Top 3 submissions win scholarship prizes of $500, $250, and $250
2. Top 20 pieces to be published in online anthology
3. Scholarship deadline: June 1st, 2016
4. All applicants must fill out this form to complete submission
Ghassan Kanafani is a Palestinian novelist and iconic national hero. His writings tell the story of Palestine and Palestinians, creating a human connection to our experiences of struggle, exile, love, and loss. Despite his passing decades ago, his writing is still very relevant to our current condition. He captured the popular imagination, not just of Palestinians and Arabs, but of the world, a feat that would ultimately lead to his untimely death. The Israeli government felt so threatened by the power of his word, that they assassinated him and his niece Lamees, on July 8, 1972, in his home of exile in Beirut, Lebanon. He was only 34 years old. His memory and the legacy of his writings however, live on in the hearts and minds of many around the world. We hope that this scholarship will honor Kanafani`s legacy by continuing to speak freely and truthfully about our history, our present, and our future struggle.
This scholarship aims to provide a space to re-engage the Palestinian narrative and explore the complexity of our identity in the shataat,* and how our existence relates and connects to other marginalized communities in this country and beyond. It is these words that have the power to shift perspective and connect us to one another. Without our stories, we have no voice, thus rendering us invisible to society, or worse yet, subject to the harmful stereotypes that are ever present in the general discourse around Palestinians, Arabs, and larger Muslim world. Having a voice is synonymous with the capacity to influence and challenge structures of power. Our narrative should be considered one of our greatest strengths, and for this, we must use our voice to assert our commitment to our memories, imaginations, and just cause.
Few scholarships and grants exist for youth of Arab heritage in the US, which is why want to fill in this gap and provide support for our own community. We want to reward our youth who demonstrate excellent writing capabilities, creativity, a strong commitment to literature and arts, and engagement/involvement in their community. Without this support, we lose the opportunity to create change within our communities and others.
The prizes awarded for the competition will be granted toward educational pursuits. The first prizewinner will win a $500 scholarship, second prize $250, and third prize $250. In addition to this, the top 20 submissions will be published in an anthology that will be distributed far and wide to engage new and different audiences about the Palestinian narrative from youth in the US.
This initiative is led by the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) -- USA Branch. PYM is a transnational, independent, grassroots movement of young Palestinians in Palestine and in exile worldwide as a result of the ongoing colonization and occupation of our homeland. Our belonging to Palestine and our aspirations for justice and liberation motivate us to assume an active role as a young generation in our national struggle for the liberation of our homeland and people. Irrespective of our different political, cultural and social backgrounds, we strive to revive a tradition of pluralistic commitment toward our cause to ensure a better future, characterized by freedom and justice on a social, cultural, and political level, for ourselves and subsequent generations.
*The word shataat is used to describe the population of Palestinians who were expelled from Palestine after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
Application Materials and Requirements:
1. Eligibility: only open to Palestinian-American youth (at least one parent must be from historic Palestine, though they might not necessarily have been born there), and must be between the ages of 18-25 years old.
2. Your writing submission should describe your experience around identity, the shataat, or anything regarding your relationship to Palestine and being Palestinian. We accept any form of writing--poetry, short story, fiction/non-fiction. Word limit of 3,000 words; no minimum word limit. Feel free to include photos, art, or other multimedia to supplement your writing piece. Get creative! There are no borders to this.
3. In order to ensure objectivity in our review process, DO NOT include your name on your submission piece.
4. One entry per person.
5. Please fill out this google form with your application.
6. Winning pieces will be published and printed in an anthology that will be posted online and distributed to PYM membership and networks internationally.
7. Application deadline is: June 1, 2016; please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line, Ghassan Kanafani Writing Scholarship.
8. Any questions can be sent to email@example.com.