I lifted the spray can and wrote a big, blue P. The letter bled and blurred. "Oh, I messed it up," I said. “Spray closer to the wall, Matt,” my friend Walid told me. No problem. I just moved onto the next section of concrete. Unfortunately, there’s plenty of wall. Continue
Miles and miles of it, in fact, winding as far…
Added by Matt Rees on March 31, 2011 at 9:01pm —
My new book MOZART’S LAST ARIA will be out in the UK in May. Naturally this means a revamp for my website (coming soon) and a new promo video (coming about the same time) to be posted to Youtube. You know, all the stuff writers actually get into the business of writing in order to do. That, and cashing the massive cheques, of course. Oh, and the groupies who throw their panties at you at book-store readings. And the drugs.
Anyhow, that’s enough digression, even for a blog post.… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on December 30, 2010 at 8:02pm —
For the first time in years, the people of Bethlehem have something more to celebrate at Christmas than the recollection of an important birth in their town 2,000 years ago.
After the city’s economy was devastated by the Palestinian intifada over the last decade, Bethlehem’s economic recovery has picked up pace in the last year with gross domestic product rising by 9 percent. This Christmas the city’s streets are packed with tourists and pilgrims, and if the holy family were to… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on December 25, 2010 at 7:44pm —
ST. GEORGE’S MONASTERY, West Bank — Gathered in the chapel of this outpost in the Judean Desert last week, the Orthodox priests chanted “Lord, have mercy” in Greek, in a service of blessing for a new road that makes the venerable building accessible to the growing number of tourists willing to dare a visit to the troubled Holy Land. Continue
As far as the Palestinian Authority is concerned, the priests may as well have been speaking, well, Greek. Because the road was built by Israel over land the…
Added by Matt Rees on December 14, 2010 at 2:15am —
The crime novel tradition seems to have little connection to love. Maybe sometimes love in a perverse sense is the spur to the murder at the heart of most crime novels – the spurned husband killing his wife, for example. But usually the detective is a loveless loner, pining without much hope like the great Marlowe for his true love to come along.
As I write more novels, I’ve noticed that love is at the heart of crime fiction. At least, mine,… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on October 14, 2010 at 5:56pm —
A book takes a long time to write, and then it takes a while to sell. And another while to sell in another country, and another after that. So a writer’s smile spreads across time.
My long-term grin widened this weekend, when I signed with my UK publisher for my next two books. Not only because Atlantic, the excellent publisher which has brought out all four of my Palestinian crime novels, bought my next books. But because Atlantic is launching a very exciting… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on July 22, 2010 at 8:11pm —
BETHLEHEM, West Bank — The good news is that the West Bank is normal — kind of — and that people are content — sort of. The bad news, the Palestine Liberation Organization thinks it’s responsible for the good news.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who’s also the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chief, has decided to stamp down on the man who’s actually made life bearable in the West Bank, Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad, and his plan to declare… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on May 5, 2010 at 11:35pm —
If there’s one thing that authoring a series of novels will teach you, it’s that you can’t wait for inspiration. But you can prompt it, give it little shocks that’ll keep it bubbling within you. Here are a few methods I use to do just that.
I travel to the places I’m writing about. I talk to people who might be similar to (or even provide the basis for) my characters. I read about them and their world. I engage in the same activities in which they… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on April 15, 2010 at 6:13pm —
Since 9/11, writers have tried to understand the extremists committed to the destruction of the West and, often, that of their own societies in the Middle East. Most have attempted to do this by “going inside” the world of those extremists, giving us the inner life of suicide bombers or of the “American Taliban.”
It’s a worthwhile premise, because it’s aimed at comprehending people who are frequently written off as bestial, bloodthirsty psychopaths, as though… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on April 2, 2010 at 8:05pm —
The dead man's mother raged and cried as she told me how she’d discovered her son’s body, in the cabbage patch outside her home. She’d gone down on her knees, she said, touched his blood and wiped her fingers on her face and called out that God is most great.
As the wind came winter cold off the Judean Desert, I watched her weep and thought: “I have to write a novel about this.”
Forgive me if that sounds heartless, but I’m a… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on February 25, 2010 at 4:52pm —
The blog empire of the Campaign for the American Reader has as its flagship the Page 69 Test
. The premise is this: open any book to page 69; if it grabs you, that's a better indication of whether you'll enjoy the book than simply reading the opening page. Try it on a book you like (and one you don't), it usually is quite reliable. Blogger Marshal Zeringue asked me to submit my new Palestinian crime novel,…
Added by Matt Rees on February 9, 2010 at 5:47am —
Crime writer J. Sydney Jones has a new blog called Scene of the Crime.
He aims to interview writers about the impact on their writing of the location and sense of place in their novels -- usually from far-flung countries. This week he features me on my Palestinian crime novels. Read on, for the full interview.
A Different View of Palestine
Matt Beynon Rees has… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on February 3, 2010 at 1:08am —
In the current Library Journal
, my new Palestinian crime novel, THE FOURTH ASSASSIN
(out Feb. 1) gets a great review that highlights the themes and implications beyond the way the detective resolves the mystery. For those whose mailman has yet to deliver a copy of the magazine (in which case you'll have missed the award for Librarian of the Year -- Big up… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on January 19, 2010 at 11:38pm —
The best thing about switching from journalism to fiction writing is that people show you more respect.
As a journalist covering a highly contentious issue like the Israel-Palestinian conflict, I was often subject to rather nasty verbal attacks during public speaking engagements. For a partisan of either side, I seemed a fine target for their generalized contempt—they thought journalists were all against them and here was a live reporter on whom they could vent their… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on January 15, 2010 at 5:22pm —
Not long ago a friend of mine commented that my travels to promote my books must be a great pleasure to me. “You just have to talk about yourself,” he sneered. “You must like that.”
I ignored the implied insult (until now). But it struck me that people might think book tours are literally ego-trips. Wrong on two counts.
First, it’s only on book tour that people will frequently come up to you and say that you look better in your jacket photo. In Aachen last year,… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on January 10, 2010 at 10:28pm —
I like to do my bit to help the effort to save our planet. Last week in Rome my wife and I confronted a brand new recycling program which, mainly, seemed to consist of workmen loading enormous amounts of bottles into their tiny dump truck outside our window at 5 a.m. We cheered them on and put our bottles in the right bin. Unbeknownst to me, my Palestinian crime novels… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on December 25, 2009 at 7:59pm —
Scott Pack, controversial publishing guru and self-declared big mouth (I can tell you he's rather more charming in person than such a description would imply), recommends my debut novel THE BETHLEHEM MURDERS (US title THE COLLABORATOR OF BETHLEHEM)
for a Christmas gift on… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on December 21, 2009 at 4:15am —
Rain on the streets of Bethlehem can't cool simmering tension.
By Matt Beynon Rees - GlobalPost
BETHLEHEM, West Bank — A writer seeks the surprise of a “man bites dog” story. The most violent times of the Second Intifada, which took place under the leaden winter skies of early 2002, gave me mine. I wrote about Arabs in… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on November 29, 2009 at 11:35pm —
I went back to the spot where I killed my first man yesterday. I killed him four years ago. I return every few months. Each time I arrive, it’s so peaceful I can’t believe anyone really died. But, even though I’m a writer of crime fiction, someone really did.
I walked across a dirt lot, puddled with the afternoon rain, past the empty reservoir at the head of the valley. Below me the village of Irtas drifted down toward the convent where they hold the annual lettuce festival. The… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on November 26, 2009 at 11:59pm —
Novelists aren’t journalists. Research for a novel isn’t the same as researching a journalistic article.
I’d have thought that was too obvious to need stating. But then I became a published novelist, and I realized that people thought the two things were rather the same.
I was a journalist for almost 20 years before my first novel was published. THE COLLABORATOR OF BETHLEHEM is a crime novel set in Bethlehem during the intifada, and I’d spent over a decade covering the… Continue
Added by Matt Rees on November 20, 2009 at 1:07am —