Matt Rees's Blog – March 2009 Archive (13)

My favorite Palestinian poet gets a biography

Anyone who has heard Taha Muhammad Ali read his poetry will know he's the greatest of Palestinian writers. There are others who've been better known -- Mahmoud Darwish, for example, who died last year and was generally called the Palestinian national poet. But Taha, who sat quietly in his tourist shop in Nazareth until his first publication at the age of 50, is a truly original voice, escaping the politics and nostalgia that mars some of his colleagues' work. Now in his 80s, Taha is still a… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on March 31, 2009 at 7:52pm — No Comments

The New (Foreign) Journalism

The New York Times features me in an article published this weekend about Global Post, the new foreign news website. As the Times explains, Global Post is intended to replace all the foreign news that's no longer produced by US newspapers, magazines and tv channels -- because those media "cut costs" and fired everyone.… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on March 23, 2009 at 5:42pm — No Comments

Live at the Leipzig Book Fair!

On my recent tour of Germany, I was interviewed (in English) on the 3Sat tv channel's stage at the Leipzig Book Fair. Of the big Germany book festivals, this is the one that gives the most time to readers and authors (the biggest, Frankfurt, is mainly for publishers to get a little more than tipsy together -- oh and to do some deals, of course). I was interviewed by a lovely, knowledgable German journalist named Tina Mendelsohn about my… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on March 22, 2009 at 7:42pm — No Comments

A lesson in (mad) Mideast politics

On Global Post, I report on the fairly crazy mess (even by Middle East standards) in which both Israeli and Palestinian politics find themselves just now.

Added by Matt Rees on March 20, 2009 at 7:35pm — No Comments

Choosing a title -- again, and again, and again...

Guest blogging on A Book Blogger's Diary, I write about why my publishers like to have a new title for the same book in almost every country...Choosing one is almost as hard as writing the book itself... Almost.

Added by Matt Rees on March 20, 2009 at 7:22pm — No Comments

NY Times recommends "A Grave in Gaza"

In its listing of recommended books new to paperback, The New York Times features the second of my Palestinian crime novels A GRAVE IN GAZA, just out in softcover from Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (The UK paperback, titled THE SALADIN MURDERS, has been out in small format for a while already.) Here's what the Times writes:

"Omar Yussef, an aging… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on March 20, 2009 at 7:02pm — No Comments

Gaza violence disrupts even the dead

Historic World War I cemeteries badly damaged in recent attacks.

By Matt Beynon Rees - GlobalPost

In Gaza, violence is so prevalent, even death doesn’t put you beyond its reach. Nor does a grave protect you from further insult to your dignity.

The fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas gunmen at the turn of the year damaged several hundred of… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on March 9, 2009 at 4:48pm — 1 Comment

Bookslut: THE SAMARITAN'S SECRET "Cool Read" for Teens

In popular blog Bookslut, Colleen Mondor has a terrific review of a series of books set overseas, giving it a particular slant toward young readers. She designates my new Palestinian crime novel, THE SAMARITAN'S SECRET, her "cool read" of the week. You can see other reviews by Colleen here, but meanwhile this is what she writes about my novel:…


Added by Matt Rees on March 6, 2009 at 4:27pm — No Comments

Madame Secretary, when will we have peace? And bathroom breaks?

When I'm not writing crime novels, this is what I have to put up with

By Matt Beynon Rees - GlobalPost

Published: March 4, 2009 15:25 ET

RAMALLAH — The further back you are in a motorcade, the more bemused the expression on the faces of the pedestrians watching you speed by. When I passed them, the people of this Palestinian city stared with slack jaws, as though they wondered if the parade of shiny black… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on March 5, 2009 at 5:13pm — No Comments

"Mystery fiction not limited by form, highly instructive"

People who don't know any better sometimes tell me that I'm a good writer and they'd like to see me write a "real novel," instead of my Palestinian crime novels. Usually I tell them Raymond Chandler once wrote that there are just as many bad "real" literary novels written as bad mysteries -- but the bad literary novels just don't get published. Now I'll be able to add something else to my always polite correction of this misconception about crime novels. That's because of a review of my new… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on March 3, 2009 at 9:39pm — 3 Comments

Making deserts bloom

Jerusalem endures both suffocating dust and torrential downpours as Middle East confronts water shortage.By Matt Beynon Rees - GlobalPost

Published: February 23, 2009 12:02 ET

JERUSALEM — When you experience the weather here, you start to understand how the biblical prophets found such great material for their doomy prognostications. Last week high temperatures had locals wearing T-shirts in midwinter, then a… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on March 2, 2009 at 7:57pm — No Comments

The Middle East and the Art of Non-catastrophic Thinking

When things look bad in the Middle East, foreign correspondents and diplomats and local politicians tend to forecast every catastrophe up to -- and sometimes including -- the end of the world. I generally have a more relaxed approach.

Why? Because of Mary Renault.

I discovered Renault in a used bookstore on a rather ratty lane in West Jerusalem in 1999. I was Middle East correspondent for The Scotsman at the… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on March 2, 2009 at 1:09am — No Comments

Memories of blood and corpses

A foreign correspondent builds memories out of blood and corpses. Often they turn to nightmares.

While working on my second Palestinian crime novel, A Grave in Gaza, I sometimes wept as I wrote. I used to think that meant I was a damned good writer. Now I know it was my trauma, collected over a decade of monthly visits to Gaza, seeping onto the page.

I hope that makes it a better novel. I know it saved me from the… Continue

Added by Matt Rees on March 1, 2009 at 1:16am — No Comments

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