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Abulhawa, Susan

Country/Region:
Kuwait, Palestine
Born:
June 3, 1970
Genres:
Miscellaneous prose, Poetry
The Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa was born in a refugee camp in Kuwait. As a result of the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel seized the last remaining Palestinian areas, her parents first ended up in a refugee camp in Jordan and later moved on to Kuwait. Their marriage broke up shortly afterwards, and Susan went to live with various relatives in Jordan and Kuwait. When she was ten she lived in an orphanage in occupied Jerusalem before ending up with foster parents in North Carolina without knowing a word of English. Her education was "brutal", but she learned the language and graduated with a degree in biology from Pfeiffer University and an MA in biomedicine from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. She has worked as a researcher, consultant and she has contributed to medical journals. She hated her Arabic surname, but at the age of twenty-seven, after she gave birth to a child, she began to think seriously about her Palestinian roots. After she visited Palestine in 2001 she founded Playgrounds for Palestine, a foundation that supports the right for Palestinian children to play on occupied land. She has described it as a "declaration of love" to these children who need a place in which to express themselves and feel safe. Eight per cent of the children living in Gaza have lost the will to live. Abulhawa also supports an economic and cultural boycott of Israel.

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