About the Anthology
Extraordinary Rendition brings together the work of sixty-five prominent writers to examine America’s culpability in the denial of human rights and dignity to Palestinians in Israel/Palestine and beyond.
The anthology includes pieces by writers such as Chana Bloch, Jane Hirshfield, Colum McCann, Roger Reeves, George Saunders and Alice Walker. In writing that is always clear, and often startlingly beautiful, they cover a range of issues including the erasure and reconstruction of histories, the examination of identity, the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of speaking out as artists, the conditions of occupation, and the potential for activism. They also explore the way U.S. foreign policy towards Palestine regularly mirrors the harsh realities faced by many of America’s own minorities.
The anthology as a whole counters the dehumanizing narrative about Palestine that has taken hold in the United States, often supported by mainstream news organizations, and makes a significant contribution toward an understanding of the ways people of conscience in general, and writers in particular, can take on one of the most pressing political questions of our time.
“Extraordinary Rendition reminds us of the power of art and the necessity of literature. In stories, essays and poems that are as varied and diverse, contradictory and complicated as we are, the writers in this deeply humane anthology shed light and bear witness to the one of the complex conflicts of our time. Ru Freeman has made a book unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s a great contribution to not only to the conversation about Palestine, but to the larger one about peace and justice.”
— Cheryl Strayed
“These varied writings—passionate, anguished, wry, intelligent—combine to produce a uniquely complex and powerful testimony. This is an extraordinary political-literary intervention.” — Joseph O'Neill
“It is both the artist’s burden and duty to witness what is going on in the world. Sometimes it is easier to remain silent, but as the incredible poet and activist Audre Lorde reminded us, our silence won’t protect us. In Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers on Palestine, silences are broken, poignant and powerful narratives and testimonials are offered on Palestine that make it impossible for the reader to remain unmoved, unshaken, and unaffected. I hope this book will not only stir emotions and reflections, but will also lead to urgent and necessary change.” —Edwidge Danticat
“This is a book that Americans who believe they're interested in a 'just peace' between Palestinians and Israelis should read. It's a wide and diverse and eloquent book of witness. And it's a revelation, and it's shocking. And it's tragic.” — Richard Ford
Extraordinary Rendition: American Writers on Palestine
Friday December 4, 2015
Writers Sinan Antoon, Nathalie Handal, Lawrence Joseph, Nancy Kricorian, Rickey Laurentiis, Colum McCann, Jason Schneiderman, Tom Sleigh, and Tiphanie Yanique came together for the book launch of the new anthology Extraordinary Rendition: American Writers on Palestine with editor Ru Freeman.
Sinan Antoon is a poet, novelist and translator. His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s last prose book In the Presence of Absence (Archipelago Books, 2011) won the 2012 American Literary Translators’ Award. His translation of his second novel, The Corpse Washer, won the 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Literary Translation. He is an associate professor at New York University.
Ru Freeman is a Sri Lankan and American writer, activist, and speaker. Her graduate work focussed on female migrant labor in the Middle East, and she has worked in the fields of international social justice, and humanitarian and disaster relief programs. Her novels A Disobedient Girl (2009) and On Sal Mal Lane (2013), appear in multiple translations. Her second novel won the 2014 winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman, and is long-listed for the Impac Dublin Literary Award. She blogs for the Huffington Post on literature and politics.
Nathalie Handal recent books include The Republics, which Patricia Smith lauds as “one of the most inventive books by one of today’s most diverse writers;” the bestselling The Invisible Star, which explores the city of Bethlehem and the lives of its exiles worldwide; Poet in Andalucía; and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, which The New York Times says is “a book that trembles with belonging (and longing).” Her most recent plays have been produced at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Bush Theatre and Westminster Abbey in London.
Lawrence Joseph is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Codes, Precepts, Biases, and Taboos: Poems 1973–1993 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). He is also the author of two books of prose, Lawyerland (FSG) and The Game Changed: Essays and Other Prose (University of Michigan Press, Poets on Poetry Series). He holds degrees from the University of Michigan, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Michigan Law School. His work has been widely anthologized, and translated into several languages. He is Tinnelly Professor of Law at St. John's University School of Law, in New York City.
Nancy Kricorian is a New York City-based writer and activist. Her most recent novel, All The Light There Was, is set in the Armenian community of Paris during World War II. Her honors include a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, The Anahid Literary Award, a Gold Medal of the Writers Union of Armenia, and the Daniel Varoujan Prize of the New England Poetry Club. In 2010 she traveled throughout the West Bank as part of the Palestine Festival of Literature. Kricorian has been on the staff of CODEPINK Women for Peace since 2003.
Rickey Laurentiis is the author of Boy with Thorn (University of Pittsburg Press, 2015), selected by Terrance Hayes for the 2014 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. He is the recipient of many honors, including a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, as well as fellowships from the Atlantic Center for the Creative Arts, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems appear widely, including Poetry magazine, The New Republic, The New York Times, Kenyon Review and Boston Review. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, he currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Colum McCann is the author of six novels and three collections of stories, including Thirteen Ways of Looking (2014). His honors include the 2009 National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin, the International Dublin Impac Prize in 2011, a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government, election to the Irish arts academy, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, and an Oscar nomination. His work has been published in over 35 languages. He lives in New York with his wife, Allison, and their three children. He teaches at the MFA program in Hunter College.
Jason Schneiderman is the author of three books of poems: Primary Source (2016, Red Hen Press, winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award), Striking Surface (2010, Ashland Poetry Press, winner of the Richard Snyder Prize) and Sublimation Point (2004, Four Way Books). He is Associate Editor of Painted Bride Quarterly and Poetry Editor of Bellevue Literary Review. He is an Assistant Professor of English at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and lives in Brooklyn.
Tom Sleigh's books include the poetry collections Station Zed, Army Cats, winner of the John Updike Award, and Space Walk, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award, a book of essays, Interview With a Ghost, and a translation of Euripides' Herakles. His work appears in The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry, Best American Poetry, Best American Travel Writing, and The Pushcart Anthology and elsewhere. His honors include the PSA's Shelley Prize, awards from the American Academy in Berlin, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Lila Wallace Fund, the Guggenheim and NEA. He teaches in Hunter College's MFA program.
Tiphanie Yanique is the author of the novel Land of Love and Drowning, which won the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Award from the Center for Fiction, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Family Award, and collection of stories, How to Escape from a Leper Colony, which won the BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Fiction, and placed her on the National Book Foundation 5Under35 list. The Boston Globe chose her as one of sixteen cultural figures to watch out for. Tiphanie is from the Virgin Islands and is a professor in the MFA program at the New School.