Mahmoud Darwish is the winner of 2001 Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom. The prize recognizes people whose
extraordinary and courageous work celebrates the human right to freedom
of imagination, inquiry, and expression. As defined by the foundation,
cultural freedom is the right of individuals and communities to define
and protect valued and diverse ways of life currently threatened by
In the words of poet Naomi Shihab Nye.
Mr. Darwish is “the Essential Breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent
witness of exile and belonging, exquisitely tuned singer of images that
invoke, link, and shine a brilliant light into the world’s whole heart. What
he speaks has been embraced by readers around the world – his in an utterly
necessary voice, unforgettable once discovered.”
Mr. Darwish published his first book of poetry,
Leaves of Olives, in 1964, at the age of 22. Since then, he has
published more than twenty poetry books, including The Adam of Two
Edens, Mural, Why Have you Left the Horse Alone, and Eleven Planets.
The University of California Press has published his prose work, Memory
For Forgetfulness. In 2000, Gallimard published the latest French
anthology of his work and, in 2002, a new English translation of Mr.
Darwish’s Selected Poems will be published in the United States.Among
his accomplishments is the 1969 Lotus Prize and 30 compilations of poetry