Pay No Heed to the Rockets

Palestine in the Present Tense

Marcello Di Cintio

Across Palestine, from the Allenby Bridge and Ramallah, to Jerusalem and Gaza, Marcello Di Cintio has met with writers, poets, librarians, booksellers and readers, finding extraordinary stories in every corner. Stories of how revolutionary writing is smuggled from the Naqab Prison; about what it is like to write with only two hours of electricity each day; and stories from the Gallery Café, whose opening three thousand creative intellectuals gathered to celebrate.

Pay No Heed to the Rockets offers a window into the literary heritage of Palestine that transcends the narrow language of conflict. Paying homage to the memory of literary giants like Mahmoud Darwish and Ghassan Kanafani and the contemporary authors they continue to inspire, this evocative, lyrical journey shares both the anguish and inspiration of Palestinian writers at work today.

About the Author

Marcello Di Cintio is an award-winning Canadian writer who has lived in West Africa, North Africa, India and the Middle East. He is the author of Harmattan: Wind across West Africa, Poets, Pahlevans: A Journey into the Heart of Iran and Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, which won the City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Book Prize and the Wilfred Eggleston Prize for Non-Fiction, and was also named as one of The Globe and Mail‘s top 100 books of 2012. He is a former writer in residence with the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program and the Palestine Writing Workshop, and an instructor at the 2015 Iceland Writers Workshop. www.marcellodicintio.com

Reviews

'With humility, respect, and great sensitivity, [Di Cintio] seeks out writers, people skilled at telling stories, and asks them to narrate their own situations. The result is a document that captures not only the manifold sorrows and injustices of Palestinian life but something of its beauty, its joys, and its yearning.' Ben Ehrenreich, author of The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine

‘A masterful work. Di Cintio weaves together history with a sense of place, character and dialogue infused with humour, to produce a contemporary portrait of a people who continue to resist both occupation and simple categorisation.’ Selma Dabbagh

‘Di Cintio’s lucid account of present-day Palestine is the inspired portrait of a nation in dialogue with its ghosts past and future affirming its right to be. This is a necessary book for our bewildered times.’ Alberto Manguel

‘A powerful journey through Palestine’s contemporary culture, where silenced authors defend themselves, female writers speak loudly and stolen private libraries are restored.’ Atef Abu Saif

‘What [Di Cintio] does do, bravely and forcefully, and with impressive commitment, is to bear witness to the suffering of people’ The Guardian

‘Di Cintio writes with clarity and grace, [and] portrays the writers with modesty and empathy … Even for a reader familiar with Palestinian literature, Pay No Heed to the Rockets uncovers stories from the past with emotional vivacity and brings to life the lengths to which prisoners went in order to educate themselves and others, and to write … Di Cintio weaves together history with a sense of place and infuses character with dialogue and humour to produce a contemporary portrait of a people who continue to resist both occupation and simple categorisation in this masterful work.’ Electronic Intifada

`[Di Cintio] writes well, unpicking some of the world's trouble spots in spare and lucid prose.' Literary Review

‘A compelling read … forces awareness in the reader of a Palestine beyond our limited imagination.’
Middle East Monitor

‘Interweaving history and politics, the book introduces Western readers to the modern Palestinian literary scene while celebrating the rich diversity of voices that comprise it. Illuminating reading from a highly engaged author.’
Kirkus Reviews