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  • Sonia NimrAuthor – Palestine
  • You Chengcheng

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sonia nimr is a prominent Palestinian author and storyteller, writing for children and youth both in Arabic and English. She was born in 1955 in a small town of Palestine where she finished her elementary and high school education. In her second year at Birzeit University in 1975, she was sentenced to three years in an Israeli prison for political reasons. During those three years, she developed a strong interest in writing children’s books. Still, she did not start writing children’s books until she worked as an education officer at the Museum of Mankind in 1989. In 1990, she received her PhD in Oral History from Exeter University. Currently, she teaches at the Department of Cultural Studies, Birzeit University. Aside from writing fiction, she is also passionate about translating children books from English into Arabic.

Sonia Nimr’s preoccupation with oral history motivates her to collect traditional tales from around the world. She is masterful in weaving familiar ingredients of “rich imagery, patterned language and repeated action” into her telling and retelling of stories against the backdrop of Arabian land, culture, and folklore. Nimr hopes that these stories will challenge stereotypes and stimulate the sharing and valuing of folktales from diverse groups of people. Instilling humor and humanistic concerns in the traditional stories, Nimr tries to make each tale attractive to children. By the same token, she resists conservative teaching methods and encourages teachers to meet the children on more open and flexible premises, answering their needs with fantasy and folktales.

Throughout her career as a children’s writer, Nimr has published a large number of books for children and young adults and accumulated several awards. She is the recipient of the 2014 Etisalat Award for Arabic Children’s Literature, one of the most important and prestigious awards for children’s literature in the Arab world, for her young adults book Rihlat Ajeeba Fi Al Bilad Al Ghareeba [Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands]. This novel and Qisah Awalha khayal wa Akherha Khyal [Story that Begins and Ends with Lies] made the IBBY Honor List in 2014 and 2004. Viewing her writings as a mission meant for Palestinian children in particular and also for children that live in zones of conflict and war in general, Nimr is committed to exercising their imagination and keeping them in touch with their cultural heritage. A humanistic perspective emanates from her stories for children.


Story that Begins and Ends with Lies. Ramallah, Palestine: Tamer Institute, 2002. Print.
A Little Piece of Ground. Sonia Nimr with Elizabeth Laird. London: Macmillan Children’s Books,2003. Print.
Ghaddar the Ghoul, and other Palestinian Stories. London: Frances Lincoln Children’s books, 2007. Print.
Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands. 2013. Ramallah, Palestine: Tamer Institute, 2014. Print.
King of Tales. Ramallah, Palestine: Tamer Institute, 2014. Print. [End Page 46]


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