The State of Mind Palestine

KHAMSA interviews the author of the visual book.

Nour Jarrar (@nourjarrar_ on Instagram) is the creator and publisher of The State of Mind Palestine, a visual book showcasing photographs of Palestine and its people. Through it, one can embark on a magnificent and reminiscent visual journey, delving into the rich tapestry of Palestine’s cultural heritage. Indeed, these visual fragments from the past serve as a powerful reminder — a testament to a legacy that transcends time, capturing the heart and soul of the land and people collectively called Palestine.

KHAMSA had the opportunity to chat with Nour ahead of the launch of The State of Mind Palestine. She talked about the ideas that led to her taking up the project, her passion for writing and publishing, and what the book aims to achieve.

Image courtesy Nour Jarrar

١. We came across your recent book launch of The State of Mind Palestine, could you tell us more about it and how it came to life?

The State of Mind Palestine is a captivating coffee-table picture book. Within the pages of this book, one is transported through time via vintage photographs of Palestine and Palestinian families, predominantly captured prior to the year of 1948.

In a conversation with who is now a former friend, she said, “Actually, on this piece of land, there has been everything EXCEPT a Palestinian country. Never was a single entity called ‘Palestine.'” Her words left me speechless, as I grappled with the enormity of the history and emotions involved. There were literally not enough words to use to respond to her, so I decided to respond with something bigger and more impactful….this book!

“There was never a country called Palestine,” you say? THIS is Palestine….THEY are Palestine!

٢. How would you describe the journey of bringing a book to life, from the initial concept to its publication? What challenges did you encounter, and what role did courage play in the process of deciding to publish The State of Mind Palestine?

As soon as the idea came to my mind, I knew I had to roll up my sleeves and get to work! I worked on this book day in and day out. Literally, non-stop.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to self-publish this book – instead of doing it with a publishing house. So, I had to do A LOT of research on the whole “self-publishing” category. And it was soon enough that I found out that it was WAY more complicated than I could ever imagine. But I was committed between me and myself to proceed with it. And so I did.

I tackled one obstacle and challenge at a time – and I am not going to even get into the challenges and obstacles self-published authors face, because I could talk about it all day. But as challenging as it was, I had to do it. This book was way too personal to me. And I’m so glad I kept going….because seeing this book come to life was my absolute favourite achievement.

٣. The State of Mind Palestine is, as you describe, “a magnificent and reminiscent visual journey” – do you believe that, sometimes, images have the potential to convey messages or evoke emotions more powerfully than words?

Absolutely. Every single photo in the book tells a thousand stories. I smiled, and I laughed, and I cried, and I felt so emotional while compiling the photos for the book. These photos are so powerful. They evoke so many emotions, and they send a very strong message.

We can try to say it a thousand times that “this was not a land with no people,” but what better way to send this message across than to show it. With these photos, we show the land, and we show the people; born in this land, raised in this land, and forever a part of this land.

Image courtesy Nour Jarrar

٤. Through The State of Mind Palestine, you entered the field of publishing. What advice would you give to aspiring authors looking to get their work published?  

Do it. Do it. Do it!

Sometimes, the fear of the results or the outcome can stop us from doing a lot of the things
we want to do. But why let that stop you? Publishing your work is an accomplishment on its own. The rest is just the cherry on top.

٥. Lastly, do you have any message for your fellow authors and community?

I never imagined how difficult it is to write or create a book or to get it published. So, hats off to you all. I respect you. I appreciate you.

The State of Mind Palestine is available for order. For more information, visit the official website or the Instagram page.

Pranav is a writer and editor who always strives to weave stories and narratives with his words. He has written for multiple publications across a wide variety of beats. A keen opinion enthusiast, Pranav pursues the art of writing balanced pieces that explore every available POV before making his conclusion. In his free time, Pranav rages at his favourite sports teams and practices impressions.