Nathalie Handal

French / Palestinian / American
Nathalie Handal
French / Palestinian / American

Biography

Nathalie Handal (Arabic: نتالي حنظل‎) (born 29 July 1969) is an American award-winning poet, writer, and playwright.
Nathalie Handal was born in Haiti to parents of Palestinian descent, and grew up in Pétionville. Having also lived in Europe, the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, the writer-poet-playwright is acutely aware of the commonality of the human experience and of the fact that "we don't exist in the jointed way that we should." She feels this most in the US's "material consumerist society," while in places like Africa and Latin America political unrest and a certain type of hardship forces you to look outside, beyond ourselves and the small space we live in. "Today I feel deeply connected to the world. Yes, I am Palestinian, but I am also French, Latina, and American." The cadence of Nathalie Handal’s voice resembles her nomadic life. “I don’t have a mother tongue. I grew up speaking many languages, and these different languages have slipped into my English. My English is cross-fertilized with French, Spanish, Arabic, Creole….I love the idea of a bridge of words, a bridge of poems connecting us….showing us what it’s like to be human,” she says. Her voice has the mellifluous tinge of a French accent, due to her upbringing in her native Haiti where French is the official language, and maintained with her residence in Paris. She earned a MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College, Vermont and a MPhil in English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London. She visited Bethlehem for the first time as a teenager. She became interested in the writing of Arab women in the 1990s. She has residences in both New York City and Paris.
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