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Stuart Rees’ novel “A Lover’s Country” (2016) was hard to put down. The story is based on the real life event of the award of the prestigious Sydney Peace Prize in 2003 to Palestinian writer, scholar, legislator and activist Hanan Ashrawi. I found myself drawn into the midst of the threats, intense lobbying, heated phone calls and political drama that formed the battleground for the granting of the Peace Prize. The backdrop – the ongoing suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, desperate for a just peace.

Professor Emeritus Stuart Rees AM is an eminent Australian academic and human rights advocate, author, poet and ethicist. His life has almost totally revolved around human rights and conflict resolution. In 2005, he was awarded a Membership of the Order of Australia [AM] for service to international relations, particularly as Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney and through the establishment of the highly-regarded Sydney Peace Prize. Professor Rees was commended for the Jerusalem (Al Quds) Peace Prize for his scholarship and activism in pursuit of justice for the Palestinian people. He is staunchly committed to the UN-declared international status of the city of Jerusalem since 1947 and his belief in peace with justice for the benefit of all peoples living in the Holy Land. His numerous books, his several anthologies of poetry, and his willingness to write and speak publicly on social justice issues, have seen him described as one of the most humane voices in Australia today.

My latest reading ... hard to put down.

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