1 August 2006 0 Comments

About Matt Beynon Rees

About Matt Beynon Rees

I’m a mystery novelist and journalist. The first in my series of Palestinian mystery novels will be published in 2007.

As a reporter, I’ve covered the Middle East for over a decade, with the vast majority of that time spent amongst Palestinians and Israelis. I’m a Contributor for Time based in Jerusalem, where I was the magazine’s bureau chief from June 2000 until January 2006. I was born in Wales in 1967 and studied at Oxford University and the University of Maryland. I’ve written award-winning stories about the violence of the Aqsa intifada for Time and my writing has appeared in many other publications, including Men’s Journal, The Scotsman, Newsweek, The Times of London and Tikkun.

I published a nonfiction account of the divisions within Israeli and Palestinian societies called Cain’s Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle East in 2004 with Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. David Shipler, former New York Times bureau chief in Jerusalem, wrote that Cain’s Field would “change the way you look at the Middle East.” Shipler won a Pulitzer for his coverage of the Israelis and Palestinians–but don’t take him at his word. Read the book: its themes are at the heart of my mystery novels, because I choose to look at what goes on inside Palestinian society, rather than focusing on the conflict with Israel (as everyone else ends up doing, until they scratch their heads and dig up the useless old cliches about how “intractable” the conflict is. Yes, if you’ve read about the Middle East, you’ve heard that word before, haven’t you).

My first mystery novel, The Collaborator of Bethlehem, is to be published in the U.S. in February 2007 by Soho Press. It’s the first in a series of novels about Palestinian sleuth Omar Yussef. The series has been sold to leading publishers in France, Italy, Britain and Poland. It has been the subject of quite some buzz in the publishing world and I’m looking forward to seeing what readers think of it.

It’s an exciting time for me, as I break new ground writing about the Palestinians from a unique perspective and in the genre of mystery novels, where Palestinian life has never before been explored. All the Omar Yussef novels are based on real events and people I’ve covered as a journalist during the last decade. On this blog, I’ll be writing about some of these people and the places behind the Omar Yussef novels and giving insights into how I research and write the books. It’ll be a way of looking at the Middle East that you won’t experience in any mainstream media.

I hope you enjoy my posts. Check out www.mattbeynonrees.com for other info. Matt

Contact Matt Beynon Rees at matt@mattbeynonrees.com

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