Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi wins award for her memoir ‘They Called Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl’s Fight for Freedom’ [Getty]

Palestinian writer and activist Ahed Tamimi was among the winners of the Palestine Book Awards (PBA) on 18 January, with the ceremony being held virtually to allow Palestinians from across the occupied territory to attend.

The PBA returned for its 12th year running to showcase Palestinian literature with Tamimi – who was released by Israel as part of a hostage and detainee exchange between Hamas and Israel in November – among those honoured. 

Tamimi won the memoir award alongside Palestinian-American journalist Dena Takruri for the autobiographical novel They Called Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl’s Fight for Freedom.  

This chronicled Tamimi’s activism leading to her eight-month imprisonment by Israeli forces at the age of 16. 

Tamimi thanked her father Bassem Tamimi during her acceptance speech, who Israel has detained without charge, and called for his release along with an end to the war on Gaza.

“I can’t feel joy until the war ends and he’s back with us,” Tamimi said. 

“I wish that the world will restore our hope in this life again, because sadly we have lost our faith in all international organisations, in the international community- and in humanity and its meaning, really after everything we’ve seen and continue to see.”

Takruri used her acceptance speech to highlight US President Joe Biden‘s “complicity” in Israel’s war on Gaza. 

She also praised Tamimi for her contributions to Palestinian resistance, calling her “steadfast and inspiring”. 

“This occupation is out of control and Israel has really escalated to next level genocidal mania, which is alarming to all of us. But we remain steadfast and hopeful in our dream of liberation and freedom,” Takruri said.

Other writers who received accolades include creative award winner Dareen Tatour, for her bilingual poetry book I Sing From the Window of Exile, and translation award winner Ibrahim Muhawi, for his translation of Among the Almond Trees: A Palestinian Memoir

Middle East scholar, activist, and journalist Dr Rosemary Sayigh was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work that focuses on the narratives of displaced Palestinian women.