‘Stranger in My Own Land: Palestine, Israel and One Family's Story of Home’, a memoir by Palestinian writer Fida Jiryis, has been named Northwestern University in Qatar’s ( NU-Q) 2023-24 One Book selection.
Adapted from Northwestern University’s One Book One Northwestern programme, the One Book programme at NU-Q is a community‐wide reading programme to foster intellectual engagement and dialogue on campus and bring the community together through shared reading. Books are selected for the programme based on their themes and relevance to the courses taught every year at NU-Q.
"Stranger in My Own Land is a deeply personal and poignant memoir, providing a unique perspective through one family's experiences,” said Marwan M Kraidy, dean and CEO, NU-Q. “This year’s One Book selection will bring students, faculty and staff at Northwestern Qatar and engage them in open dialogue on one of the most pressing issues of our time.”
'Stranger in My Own Land' captures Jiryis’ search for a homeland between the Galilee, the West Bank, and the diaspora in a tale of conflict, exodus, occupation, return, and search for belonging, narrated through her personal experience with displacement. In the book, Jiryis tells the story of her family’s return to Palestine from exile and her struggle to fit in despite her longing for a home and love for her country.
Sam Meekings, associate professor in residence and chair of the One Book committee, said the committee was captivated by Jiryis' ability to humanise the conflict, allowing readers to empathise with the characters and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by exiled Palestinians.
“Stranger in My Own Land exemplifies the essence of our initiative, encouraging dialogue and exploration of diverse perspectives,” said Meekings. “This beautifully crafted memoir reveals the intricate layers of history, culture, and resilience, allowing our community to empathise and engage with the complexities of displacement."
As part of the One Book programme, students, faculty, and staff at NU-Q will participate in a series of events and discussions in and out of the classroom on this year’s selection throughout the academic. They will also have the chance to engage directly with the author and further explore the themes and ideas raised in her memoir in the spring semester when she joins a community-wide discussion on her book.