In the Land of My Birth: A Palestinian Boyhood

2018 winner
In the Land of My Birth: A Palestinian Boyhood
Publisher: Institute for Palestine Studies
Published Date: November 2017
ISBN-13: 978-0887280009

In the Land of My Birth recounts the coming of age of a blind Palestinian boy of modest milieu during the turbulent years leading up to the fall of Palestine in 1948. Above all, it is about the boy's life and his struggles to make his way in the sighted world, his upbringing, schooling, friendships, and adventures. It is a compelling human story with a mine of information on popular culture and customs, the educational system, and Palestinian life.

While the looming conflict forms the essential backdrop, it comes to the fore only when it impinges directly on the boy's world. The fact that the memoir unfolds largely in real time, with events, conversations, and situations recounted not retrospectively but as they are experienced, provides a rare window on the political attitudes, social views, legends, prejudices, perceptions and misperceptions of ordinary Palestinians at the time, unmediated and unvarnished. Essential reading for anyone interested in the cultural, social, and political history of Palestine, the condition of blindness, and the education of the blind.


Reviewed by: Amelia Smith

Reja-e Busailah has lost two dear parts of himself over the course of his lifetime: his sight and his homeland.  In his autobiography, “In the land of my birth: A Palestinian boyhood”, Busailah documents his childhood in the lead up to the loss of Palestine in the 1948 Nakba and at the same time offers the reader an insight into what...


The 2019 Shortlist

  • Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine
  • The Parisan
  • Stone Men: The Palestinians who built Israel
  • Nabil Anani: Palestine, Land and People
  • Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen
  • Palestinian Women's Activism: Nationalism, Secularism, Islamism
  • Palestinian Cinema in the Days of Revolution