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Teaching a Palestinian Novelist's Work During Wartime

January 12, 2024

In a December Slate piece, Professor of Creative Writing Daniel Torday wrote of reading and talking about Palestinian novelist Adania Shibli’s Minor Detail with his class as the conflict between Israel and Hamasand related protestscontinues.

From the article:

"The dominant media narratives about college campuses were and continue to be about hostilities and anger, and while I hadn’t felt any of it in the waters here, I hadn’t dipped in a toe. But it felt like the right challenge. While I’ve been steeped in reading about Israel/Palestine since before I had a choice—many Eastern European relatives of mine fled Nazi-occupied Europe for Tel Aviv in the ’40’s and ’50s; I have relatives across Israel, and friends across Israel, Palestine, and the region—I decided to read a pile of books in three weeks to responsibly prepare to teach this single short novel, in wartime. I view my classroom as a kind of collaboration, so I checked in with my students to see if they still felt prepared to read the book.

They did."

Read the full article at

Torday is co-director of Bryn Mawr's creative writing major. He is the author of four novels, including The 12th Commandment, published by St. Martin’s Press in winter 2023. A two-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award for fiction and the Sami Rohr Choice Prize, Torday’s stories and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Tin House, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, and n+1, and have been honored by the Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays series. A feature film adaptation of Boomer1, based on his screenplay, is currently in development. Torday holds a BA from Kenyon College, and an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University. 

Creative Writing