A Day in the Life of Abed Salama - A Palestine Story | How To Academy



Thu, 12 October 2023

6:45 pm - 8:00 pm BST

A Day in the Life of Abed Salama – A Palestine Story

Nathan Thrall in conversation with Saleh Hijazi and Ahdaf Soueif

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Join Nathan Thrall live in London to hear a gripping, intimate story of one heartbreaking day in Palestine and a masterful, epic portrait of life on both sides of Israel’s separation wall.

‘One of the best-informed and most trenchant observers’ of Israel/Palestine (Financial Times), Nathan Thrall has been hailed for his clear-eyed international reporting, which has been cited in the UN Security Council, General Assembly, and Human Rights Council, as well as in reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories.

His new book, a work of narrative non-fiction, tells the story of Milad, a five year old excited for his school trip to a theme park on the outskirts of Jerusalem. But tragedy awaits: his bus is involved in a horrific accident. His father, Abed, rushes to the chaotic site, only to find Milad has already been taken away. Abed sets off on a journey to learn Milad’s fate, navigating a maze of physical, emotional, and bureaucratic obstacles he must face as a Palestinian.

Interwoven with Abed’s odyssey are the stories of Jewish and Palestinian characters whose lives and pasts unexpectedly converge: a kindergarten teacher and a mechanic who rescue children from the burning bus; an Israeli army commander and a Palestinian official who confront the aftermath at the scene of the crash; a settler paramedic; and two mothers who each hope to claim one severely injured boy.

Chaired by Ahdaf Soueif, Nathan will be in conversation with Saleh Hijazi.

Praise for Nathan Thrall’s A Day in the Life of Abed Salama:

‘Nathan Thrall’s book made me walk a lot. I found myself pacing around between chapters, paragraphs and sometimes even sentences just in order to be able to absorb the brutality, the pathos, the steely tenderness, and the sheer spectacle of the cunning and complex ways in which a state can hammer down a people and yet earn the applause and adulation of the civilized world for its actions.’ – Arundhati Roy

‘It is hard to think of another book that gives such a poignant, deeply human face to the ongoing tragedy of Palestine. Thrall’s evocation of both a terrible crisis and the daily humiliations of life under occupation is nothing short of heartbreaking.’ – Adam Hochschild

‘This brilliant and heartbreaking book is a masterpiece. It reads like a novel, yet is all sadly true. I finished it in tears.’ – James Rebanks

This event is presented in partnership with Amnesty International UK, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Palfest

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Nathan Thrall

Journalist and Commentator

Nathan Thrall is the author of The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine. His writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, Guardian, New York Review of Books, and The New York Times Magazine and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He spent a decade at the International Crisis Group, where he was Director of the Arab-Israeli Project, and has taught at Bard College, New York. He lives in Jerusalem.

Saleh Hijazi

Apartheid-Free Policy Coordinator at the BNC

Saleh Hijazi is the Apartheid-Free Policy Coordinator at the The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the leadership of the global nonviolent movement working to end Israel’s colonialism, military occupation, and apartheid. Prior to joining the BNC movement Saleh spent 11 years at Amnesty International most recently as MENA Deputy Regional Director and was co-author of the organisation’s report “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity”. He had previously worked with Human Rights Watch and Al-Quds University Human Rights Clinic in Palestine. He is a member of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network and sits on the Steering Committee of Pan-African Palestine Solidarity Network. Saleh is a Palestinian, born and raised in Jerusalem and holds a BA in liberal arts and MA in human rights.

Ahdaf Soueif


Ahdaf Soueif is the author of – among other titles – the bestselling The Map of Love (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and translated into more than 30 languages), the well-loved In the Eye of the Sun (1993) and Cairo: a City Transformed, her account of the Egyptian revolution of 2011. As a translator, her rendering of Mourid Barghouti’s I Saw Ramallah has become a classic. As a political and cultural commentator, her Mezzaterra (2004) has been influential and her articles for the Guardian are published in the European and American press. From 2011 to 2015 she wrote a weekly column for the Egyptian national daily, al-Shorouk. In 2007 Ms Soueif founded the Palestine Festival of Literature – PalFest, which takes place in the cities of occupied Palestine and Gaza. Ms Soueif has been awarded 4 honorary doctorates and was the first recipient of the Mahmoud Darwish Award (Palestine) in 2010. In 2019 she received the European Cultural Foundation’s Princess Margriet Award.