13th July 2023

The story "The Lilac Girl," written by Ibtisam Barakat and illustrated by Sinan Hallak, won the Sheikh Zayed Award for Children's and Youth Literature in 2020. It competed with over 205 books from the Arab world.

"The Lilac Girl" is a story inspired by the life of the Palestinian visual artist Tamam Al-Akhal, the wife of the visual artist Ismail Shammout, and how she was displaced from her city of Jaffa in the 1948 Nakba. The Lilac Girl, the protagonist of the story, holds on to the colors lingering in her mind. She moves and translates them into paintings to retrieve images from her memory. She uses colors not only to touch her memory and revisit her past but also to savor the present and envision a future that harmonizes with a past burdened with memories. The lilac color embraces her and takes her back to her city, carrying her memories as a child: memories of home, the wall, and the city. With its warm and gentle heart, it embraces her feelings filled with anger and sadness.

"The Lilac Girl" was published by the Tamer Institute for Community Education in 2019 with the support of the Abdul Mohsen Al-Qattan Foundation through the Visual Arts: Growth and Sustainability Project, funded by Sweden.