Interview with longlisted author Osama Al-Eissa


When did you begin writing The Seventh Heaven of Jerusalem and where did the inspiration for it come from?

As in all my writing, the idea for a creative work begins very small and takes time to emerge onto paper, and even more time to mature and take shape. My fictional project is inspired by Palestinian time and place. This applies to the city of Jerusalem. I wanted to present my Jerusalem. Each one of us has his own (sacred) Jerusalem. This novel is my offering to this inspiring city.   

How long did the novel take to write and where were you when you finished it?

It took about two years to write. I was living between the two twin cities, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. 

Do you have writing rituals?

I have no writing rituals. In these circumstances in which we are living in Palestine, I don’t have such a luxury. But the most important thing, in my view, is daily writing. Reading and writing are part of my everyday life.

What is your next literary project after this novel?

I have many projects, including a trilogy about the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The overall title will be: The Road from Jerusalem to Galilee, but each section will have its own title.