Sabrin Hasbun wins inaugural Footnote x Counterpoints Writing Prize

Sabrin Hasbun has won the inaugural Footnote x Counterpoints Writing Prize for writers from refugee and migrant backgrounds.

Hasbun is a Palestinian-Italian transnational writer and lecturer, currently teaching creative writing for activism and decolonisation at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Her submission, Wait for Her, is described as a memoir-family saga that retraces the love story between her Palestinian father and Italian mother.

The prize, which recognises narrative non-fiction centred around themes of displacement, identity or resistance, was developed in association with the Southbank Centre, and is supported by the John Ellerman Foundation, Doughty Street Chambers, Spread the Word and The Bookseller. Hasbun wins a publication agreement with Footnote Press, which has acquired world rights for the book and plans to publish in spring 2025.

Hasbun said: “After the loss of my mother, I tried to renegotiate my mixed identity and understand my mother’s choices from an oppressive childhood in a village in Tuscany to love and community activism in Palestine. This is a story about grief and what it means to lose not only loved ones, but also a place in the world and a sense of belonging. I hope Wait for Her will join the chorus of Palestinian voices that are calling from all over the world urging to listen to our people and our land.”

Footnote Press managing director Vidisha Biswas and Counterpoints Arts director Almir Koldzic, who co-founded the prize, said: “We are proud and delighted to have brought our inaugural writing prize to fruition. It has allowed us to discover an enormous diversity of voices and experiences, which can teach us a great deal as we navigate our way through these divisive times.

“We hope that Sabrin’s wonderful book will move and touch many hearts, and help us start dismantling so many real and imaginary borders that keep us fearful and separated at the moment. We also hope that her story will pave the way for more writers to share with us other hopeful, beautiful and inclusive ways of living together.”

As seen in The Bookseller. 

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