Runo Isaksen is a Norwegian author and journalist. He has published eight acclaimed novels in Norwegian.
In addition, he has published one non-fiction book that was translated to English and published in the US: Literature and War: Conversations with Israeli and Palestinian Writers. In this book, the region’s most original voices reflect on the relationship between literature and war, and allow us new insight into the human side of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
The book can be purchased on Amazon and competing booksellers online.
«Runo Isaksen’s book is unique in its ability to make us understand without judging, to connect emotionally without patronizing, and to make some sharp and lucid sense from one of the most obscure and strange regions in the world. His book should be on the reading list of any person who wants to transcend clichés and seeks to find the real people who live and ache in the Middle East.» Etgar Keret
«Isaksen examines the obligation artists feel (or don’t feel) to help bring peace to the region, the differences between being an Israeli and being a Jew, the likelihood of true democracy in Israel, the meaning of exile in the minds of Palestinians and other weighty topics. The result is a number of sharp insights into the process, promise and limits of art in the face of war. This inquisitive guide illuminates the region in a fresh way, giving those already interested a new perspective and drawing in readers who might otherwise eschew modern Middle East history.» Publishers Weekly, February 2009
«Centering on the Israeli and Palestinian dilemma, the interviews (on both sides of the divide) reveal hope, pragmatism, emotionalism, cynicism, and vastly differing worldviews, and they support Isaksen s thesis that through literature Israeli Jews and Arab Palestinians may see the other as more human and individual. This book provides insights rarely found in the literature on this subject. Summing Up: Recommended.»
Choice, May 2009
«Novelist and journalist Runo Isaksen undertook these interviews with preeminent Israeli and Palestinian writers with one key question: Can literature play a role in helping one side to see the other?
To answer this, he sought out acclaimed Israeli writers Amos Oz and David Grossman, Palestinian poet laureate Mahmoud Darwish, feminist writer Sahar Khalifeh, and others.
In the conversations that resulted, the region’s most original voices reflect on the relationship between literature and war: their discussions transcend national boundaries and the narrow language of conflict, and allow us new insight into the human side of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
These dialogues – urgent, humurous, despairing, and hopeful – are themselves a first step toward peace.»
Interlink Publishing House