Jerusalem is under intense pressure. Stories from its Indian and West African communities, its Dom Gypsies, its Islamic Sufi mystics, its Syriac and Armenian churches – all these and others are being overlooked. The women who shaped Jerusalem’s architectural legacy. The artists at work today. Tailors. Coffee-roasters. Social activists. Sellers of silk, books or onions. Jerusalem is not my city, but it’s a privilege for me to be able to amplify Jerusalemite voices, help them to be heard above the clamour.
I am writing a book of stories to help illuminate a walk – on foot, or in the mind – through the Old City of Jerusalem. Titled Nine Quarters of Jerusalem: A New Biography of the Old City, it uses individual voices from the communities who live – and have lived – inside Jerusalem’s walls to explore the city’s sense of itself, challenge prevailing narratives and paint a new, intimately personal picture of social and cultural diversity.
It will be published in 2022 by Profile Books.