Izzat GHAZZAWI – Palestinian 1951 – 2003

Linkedwith our presentation of The role of Culture in Areas of Conflict.

He writes on April 1, 1998: We need to work out a kind of art that breaks down stereotypes. He believes that the two religious extremes in Israel and Palestine are incapable of outlining the future, since the fundamentalist forces threaten the very existence of the people. He dies on April 4, 2003 in his home in Ramallah.

Izzat GHAZZAWI – Palestinian

He was born and raised on the West Bank. In 1948 Mr. Ghazzawi’s family fled to the West bank. Three years later Izzat was born into the already large family consisting of his mother and father and ten brothers and sisters. At the age of 13, Izzat Ghazzawi wrote his first play. It was a short play about a loaf of bread that was rolling in the streets. Everybody tried to catch it but nobody succeeded. He says: “you can’t choose to become a writer it is a feeling inside yourself”. In 1971 Ghazzawi graduated from the University of Amman with an MA degree in English Literature and he lectures at Beirut University. (Read more on klys.se).

BIOGRAPHY – 1951 December 4: Born in Dayr al-Ghusoun, to refugee parents. 1974: Graduates from University of Jordan with a BA in American-British literature. 1982: Graduates from University of South Dakota, USA with MA in American-British literature. Starts working as lecturer at Bir Zeit University in Palestine (at this time: Jordan, but under Israeli occupation). 1989 February: Imprisoned for political activity, in the Ashkelon prison, Beer Sheva, Israel. 1991 May: Released from prison. 1993: His son Rami is shot dead, while participating in the Intifada. 1994: Receives the International Prize for Freedom of expression in Stavanger, Norway. 1995: Is elected president of the Palestinian Writers Union. 2003 April 4: Dies in his home in Ramallah.

Imprisoned for political activity: For more than two years (February -89 to May -91) Ghazzawi was in prison because of political activity. He said then: “this is so far the hardest time in my life. I missed my family so much (Izzat Ghazzawi has a wife and six children who live in Rammalla, 16 kilometers west of Jerusalem) and I only got to meet them for 30 minutes every other week. I was only allowed to see two of my kids at a time. It was a sort of torture, I think”. In prison Izzat wrote a book, “Letter Underway.” Ghazzawi describes it as an open text. Poems, imaginary talks with authors he knew only by their writings and his own political views on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The death of Ramy: One of Izzat Ghazzawi«s sons Ramy, 16, was killed when he tried to save a wounded person in the school courtyard. He says also: “of course this has affected my writing. I want to write a book about him, but I can’t at the moment. The person inside me who is a father is too close to the other person inside me, the writer. When they are able to coexist, when it affects the so-called mechanisms of being a father and an artist, it will be my best book, says Ghazzawi without hesitation”. (Read more on Encyclopaedia of the Orient).


The Woman Prisoner, short stories 1986, published in Lebanon.

A Critical View, 1989, published in Palestine.

Letters underway, novel 1989, published in Lebanon.

The Edges, novel 1993, published Palestine.

Nebo Mountain, novel 1995, published Lebanon.

Abdullah at-Tilali, novel 1997, published Palestine.


the Saladin provocation, by Thorvald Steen, and also norskpen;

EU Press Release

Die Welt;

his best picture.

… and two arabian links:

first link;

second link.

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