Refugee Hosts is delighted to announce that ‘Writing the Camp,‘ the poetry collection written by Yousif M. Qasmiyeh during his work as the Refugee Hosts Writer-in-Residence, has been shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize 2022.  The RSL Ondaatje Prize is awarded by the RSL to ‘an outstanding work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry that best evokes the spirit of a place.’

Commenting on the shortlist, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh notes:  

“In the refugee camp, the spirit of the place does not only belong to the camp itself, but also, and always, to places that lie before and after the camp. It is a huge honour for Writing the Camp to be shortlisted for the 2022 RSL Ondaatje Prize and for refugees and their places, wherever they are, to be recognised in their own right.”

You can read more about the collection and order it here. Access more of Yousif M. Qasmiyeh’s writing and listen to him read his poetry here.

Recent praise for Writing the Camp:

“an important debut… a work of rare integrity… to be studied for years to come” (Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph)

“a remarkable collection, attending to philosophy, faith and the power of testimony” (Seán Hewitt, The Irish Times)

“[a] phenomenal collection” (Shash Trevett, PN Review)

“A debut of remarkable enquiry… Writing the Camp is epic in scope… It heralds a major new voice in British poetry” (James Byrne, The Poetry Review)

“A book of precise and crystalline imagery, where crucial questions related to exile, place and personhood converge and haunt to devastating effect” (Portobello Bookstore)

“The tender, raw poetic investigations in Yousif M. Qasmiyeh’s recent Writing the Camp… contain masterful turns…” (Honora Spicer, Jacket2)

“dazzling… This is a searing and vital collection that deserves as wide a readership as possible” (Andrew McMillan, Poetry Book Society Spring 2021)

“a book with which every reader needs to be in dialogue, carrying it in their heart or on their back as a perpetual interlocutor. Qasmiyeh’s vast and cohesive philosophy of being, time, encounter, and place answers and displaces more comfortably established thinkers… This is a book to love.” (Vahni Capildeo)

“a profound meditation on time, family and language… by a poet with a rare gift for universal imagery and reflection… For a comparison in English we might turn to the range of Blake’s Auguries of Innocence. It is an extraordinary achievement in our time.” (Bernard O’Donoghue)

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