2024 Political Writing Book prize finalist

A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: A Palestine Story

Nathan Thrall

Published by: Allen Lane

A powerful, timely and original work of reportage by the Jerusalem-based American journalist Nathan Thrall. It tells the story of a terrible school bus crash in 2012 on a highway outside Jerusalem used predominantly by Palestinians, which was badly maintained and heavily congested thanks to Israeli checkpoints. The accident killed six Palestinian children, including Milad, Abed Salama’s five-year-old son. In plain, vivid prose, Thrall unspools the sequence of events leading up to the crash from multiple perspectives, delving into Abed’s past and into the lives of other parents and family member. Thrall’s careful, historically informed reporting illuminates with distressing clarity the way the Israeli occupation and apartheid system suffuse the intimate lives of Palestinians in the West Bank, leading not only to daily inconveniences, hardships and indignities, but tragedies – accidents that could and should have been avoided.



Lola Seaton, Orwell Prize for Political Writing judge 2024