• Nostos

    Maath al-Alousi

    Despite the layer of a sweet sadness that is suspended over it, the city does not sleep at night...

  • Glafkos Clerides

    Niyazi Kizilyurek

    An intellectual journey in the modern political history of Cyprus.

  • Rue du Mexique

    Suhail Bulos

    From tales of surreptitious teenage romances in Jerusalem, to day-long curfews during the Lebanese civil war and a renegade rooster in Beirut.

  • Vanished

    Ahmed Masoud

    A fictional story set against the political unrest in Palestine, following a young boy trying to find his father.

  • Threads of Identity

    Widad Kamel Kawar

    A record of 50 years Kawar spent researching, collecting and preserving part of the Palestinian heritage.

  • To Palestine with Love

    Najwa Kawar Farah

    Najwa Kawar Farah relates emotions of love and longing in this moving collection of poetry and paintings.

  • Palestinian Embroidery Motifs

    Margarita Skinner

    The tradition of embroidery is one of the great art forms of village life in Palestine.

  • Jerusalemites

    Dr Hazem Zaki Nusseibeh

    As a senior politician and diplomat, the lure of Jerusalem, the city of his birth, remained strong.

  • Lovesong

    Afaf Zurayk

    An exquisite celebration of one of the deepest and strongest of human emotions.


In the Press

Find out what prominent press and media outlets have to say about our authors and publications. Browse through reviews in our 'in the press' library.

July 25, 2011

TIMEOUT BEIRUT - Book Review of Threads of Identity

There’s something just so wonderful about ‘Threads of Identity’ – an intelligent, visually delicious compendium of women’s traditional costumes and life stories that have been collected by Widad Kamel Kawar over a lifetime of research in Palestine, Jordan and the Arab World. A record of the largest such collection in existence, that has toured exhibition spaces worldwide, you can become completely absorbed in the easy-going prose and luscious photographs, organised by geographical region.


This reviewer tends to be unreasonably irritated by nonessential personal narratives, but Kawar tells the story of her developing obsession with embroidery and costume so charmingly, and so lightly but forcefully encapsulates the deeper motivations of cultural preservation and resistance that lie behind her collecting, that you barely notice the stitching between the different elements (call it a pun if you like).


And so, lost between fantastical shots of Ramallah embroidery – rich red cross- stitch on white for summer, on black for winter – or heavy wedding headdresses made from stacked rows of coins – the happy reader can gently absorb both a wealth of information on traditional garments and crafts (both vanished and adapting to modernity, like the ‘intifada dress’), and the sad and brave stories that Kawar has gathered up along with her beloved cloths. You don’t have to be particularly interested in fashion, tradition or Palestinian culture and history to adore this book; just enjoy the results of a deep, passionate love of a society and its memories, beautifully presented.

Threads of Identity
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