Raja Shehadeh (b 1951, Palestine) is a writer, lawyer and political activist, recognised by The Observer as “Palestine’s greatest prose writer”.
In 1979, he played an instrumental role in founding the NGO Al-Haq, which has received numerous awards for its work protecting human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
His books have received widespread international recognition: Palestinian Walks (2007) was the recipient of the Orwell Prize for political writing. With his wife, Penny Johnson (also participating in this year’s Bergen International Literary Festival), he edited Seeking Palestine: New Palestinian Writing on Exile and Home, the recipient of the General Prize in the 2013 Palestine Book Awards.
In 2019, he published Going Home, simultaneously a memoir and an elegy for Ramallah — a city irreversibly altered by half a century of occupation.
The wisdom and elegance of Raja Shehadeh’s thinking and writing are more necessary than ever… Shehadeh is a buoy in a sea of bleakness.Rachel Kushner on Raja Shehadeh
Shehadeh describes how the destruction of a beloved landscape mirrors the damage to Palestinian identity… lyrical nature writing with understated political passion.The Guardian on Going Home