“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 continue the Ghassan Kanafani Writing Scholarship for the year 2017. This scholarship will offer a creative arts and writing scholarship to three Palestinian youth in the diaspora. You can find the online application here.

The Details

The top 3 submissions win scholarship prizes of $500, $250 and $250.

The top 20 pieces will be published in an online anthology.

Scholarship deadline: June 23rd, 2017.

All applicants must fill out this form to complete submission.

The Story

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 we 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 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.

*The word shataat is used to describe the population of Palestinians who live outside historic Palestine.

Application Materials and Requirements

  1. Eligibility: open to Palestinian-American youth (at least one parent must be from historic Palestine, though they might not necessarily have been born there), must be a US resident (this includes those who are studying here in the US), 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. Please limit submissions to 3-5 pages; 3,000 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. The submission must reflect work that is previously unpublished.

  5. All applicants must fill out this form to complete submission. If submission materials can not be uploaded here, please send to gkscholarshippym@gmail.com

  6. Winning pieces will be published and printed in an anthology that will be posted online and distributed.

  7. Application deadline is: June 23rd, 2017.

    Any other questions can be sent to gkscholarshippym@gmail.com.

    Good luck and looking forward to reading your submissions.