Model Role Details

Susan Abu Alhawa

Susan Abu Alhawa

Sector : Cultural Figures , Writers

Personal Info

  • Country of residence: United States
  • Gender: Female
  • Born in: 1970
  • Age: 46
  • Curriculum vitae :


Susan Abulhawa (born June 3, 1970) is a Palestinian American writer and human rights activist. She is the author of a bestselling novel, Mornings in Jenin (2010) and the founder of a non-governmental organization, Playgrounds for Palestine. She lives in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Her second novel, The Blue Between Sky And Water, was sold in 19 languages before its release. It was published in the UK on June 4, 2015, and will be published in the US on September 1, 2015.

Abulhawa's parents, born in At-Tur in Jerusalem, were refugees of the 1967 war. Her father, according to one account, “was expelled at gunpoint; her mother, who was studying in Germany at the time, was unable to return and the couple reunited in Jordan before moving to Kuwait, where Abulhawa was born in 1970.” Since her parents did not remain together for long, and the family was dismantled following the war, Susan was sent to live with an uncle in the U.S., where she stayed until she was five years old. She was then “passed between various family members in Kuwait and Jordan; at 10, she was taken to Jerusalem but ended up in an orphanage.” At age 13, she was sent to Charlotte, North Carolina, where she was a foster child. She has been in the US since. She majored in Biology in college and attended USC School of Medicine as a graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Science, where she completed a Master's Degree in Neuroscience.
She later turned to journalism and fiction. She has contributed to several anthologies and has been published in major and minor US and international newspapers and other periodicals. Mornings in Jenin (originally published in 2006 as The Scar of David) was her debut novel. It is an international bestseller, published in at least 26 languages. In 2013, Abulhawa published a collection of poetry entitled "My Voice Sought The Wind" and it has been announced that she completed and sold her second novel manuscript.
Abulhawa is the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine,  an NGO that advocates for Palestinian children by building playgrounds in Palestine and UN refugee camps in Lebanon. The first playground was erected in early 2002.

In 2000, then, Abulhawa traveled to Palestine, where, according to a 2010 profile, “listening to the echo of her childhood on the slopes of the Mount of Olives and cradling the young daughter who had finally given her purpose,...Abulhawa set her life on its indeterminable course.” That course was one “of political activism, of vocally opposing Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory and campaigning to provide playgrounds for Palestinian children.” Abulhawa herself has described her return to Palestine as a reawakening, saying that “when I heard the adhan for the first time and realized how much I'd missed it, I broke down in tears.”
In 2001, Abulhawa set up Playgrounds for Palestine, starting off with donated slides and swings for a playground in Bethlehem. She had also begun to write op-eds for newspapers. She is now heavily involved in the campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions and as a speaker for Al Awda, the Right to Return coalition. Abulhawa is signatory to the boycott campaign against Israel, including the cultural boycott. She gave the keynote address at the first campus BDS conference at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mornings in Jenin, novel (Bloomsbury, 2010).
The Blue Between Sky and Water, novel (Bloomsbury, 2015).
Shattered Illusions, anthology (Amal Press, 2002) 
Searching Jenin, anthology (Cune Press, 2003).
Seeking Palestine: New Palestinian Writing on Exile and Home anthology (2012)
My Voice Sought The Wind, poetry collection (Just World Books, November 2013)
Political commentary in major US and international periodicals, including the New York Daily News, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Achievements and Awards

The Leeway Foundation Edna Andrade award for fiction and creative non-fiction
Best Books Award for Historic Fiction
MEMO Palestine Book Award
Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Award

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