Ghassan Zaqtan is a Palestinian poet and novelist. He was born in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, and has lived in Jordan, Beirut, Damascus, and Tunis. His book “Like a Straw Bird it Follows me” translated by Fady Joudah was awarded the Griffin Poetry Prize , 2013. Winner of Mahmoud Darwish Excellence Award (along with Lebanese Elias Khoury and American Alice Walker). His name appeared twice among the short-listed award winners of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in the years of 2014, 2016 / University of Oklahoma, perceived as the American Nobel Prize. In recognition of his achievement and contribution to Arabic and Palestinian literature, Ghassan Zaqtan was awarded the National Medal of Honour. He is a consultant for cultural policies in the Welfare Association and is a member of the executive board of the Mahmoud Darwish Foundation. Zaqtan writes a weekly column in the Palestinian Al-Ayyam newspaper. He lives in Ramallah.