Residency Program for Poets

A Month of Inspiration and Creativity at the National Library

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About the Program

The National Library of Israel is home to books, writers, and readers. It is a site of vibrant cultural creativity and intellectual activity.

Bustan is an innovative program that fosters connections between Arab and Jewish poets from different communities in Israel and supports their production of new work. The residency program at the National Library of Israel combines time for uninterrupted writing with opportunities for cultural enrichment. The Library's richly diverse collections provide an ideal seedbed for cultivating creative work as well as for nurturing collaboration.

Application is now closed.
Candidates will be informed of the outcome of their application by the end of April 2018.

Application deadline: January 31, 2018

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Call for Applications

The National Library of Israel invites poets who write in Hebrew or Arabic to apply for Bustan's 2nd cohort (2018).


Eligible candidates are poets who have published either:
Two books of poetry in either Arabic and/or Hebrew (and at least one during the past eight years) or One book of poetry during the past eight years, and at least six poems in established literary venues (namely: periodicals, literary journals and anthologies) in either Arabic or Hebrew.

Program Elements

An orientation day at the National Library

Three-day introductory retreat in a relaxed setting outside the Library (end of June 2018)

Four week residency at the NLI (July 2018) During the residency, the fellows will devote themselves primarily to writing, engage in peer leaning, meet with inspiring artists, and will have ample opportunities to explore the special collections of the National Library.

Cultural programs at the Library and in communities throughout Israel.

Collection of fellows' literary works in a bi-lingual anthology.

* Participants must commit to fully partake in all the program's elements

Participants will receive a one-time scholarship of 10,000 NIS and accommodations in Jerusalem for the duration of the program.

View all regulations

Please send 5 copies of your book to:

Efrat Waksman, Bustan Program
The National Library of Israel
Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram POB 39105 Jerusalem, 9139002.

Your package must be postmarked no later than January 31, 2018.

First cohort

Seven fellows participated in Bustan's first cohort during Summer 2017, three of them writing in Arabic and four who write in Hebrew.

The residency period in July allowed for uninterrupted writing time along with the opportunity to interact with fellow authors and meet with inspiring figures. The fellows also received introductions to the Library's main collections with the curators and one-on-one consultations with reference librarians.

In Autumn 2017 fellows participated in a series of public cultural events at the National Library and in various local cultural centers throughout Israel. The cultural programs drew new audiences and generated awareness to the library's capacity to nourish and support creative literary work in both Arabic and Hebrew.

מלגאי מחזור א' של התכנית >>

Muhammad Bakria


lives in Jerusalem. Bakria graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a dual degree in Arabic Language and Literature and Theatre Studies. An accomplished journalist for the past 20 years, he also writes poetry and short stories. Bakria submitted for consideration his second poetry collection, A Soul Carried by the Wind (Arabic, 2016).

Roi Bet Levi


was born in Ramat Gan to parents of South American descent. Educated in Buenos Aires and Ramat Hasharon, Bet Levi now resides in Tel Aviv. He has worked as a journalist and screenwriter and is currently head of communication activities at the Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Studies. His novel Imagine a Mountain (Hebrew, 2014), which he submitted for consideration, won the New Literature Prize in Memory of Isaac and Tova Wiener.

Jawdat George Eid


is a writer, poet and academic from Nazareth. Eid earned his Doctorate of Education degree (Ed.D.) from the University of Derby in England in 2016. He also holds a master's degree in social work and a teaching certificate in psychology. Today he lectures in the fields of education, psychology and social sciences. Eid has published numerous children's books as well as collections of short stories, poetry and prose. He has won numerous prizes, grants and letters of recognition in the areas of literature, social work, and education. Eid submitted for consideration a poetry collection entitled, Virtual Space and Place (Arabic, 2014).

Jonathan Fine


is an author and translator based in Tel Aviv. Fine has published essays and literature reviews in Haaretz and Ynet. He is the recipient of the Harry Hershon Literature Prize from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The collection of short novels which he submitted for consideration, Honorably Discharged (Hebrew, 2013), is his first book. The book won the Culture Minister’s Literary Award for 2015.

Eytan Freier-Dror

was born in Jerusalem. Freier-Dror studied musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and composition at the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. The Fingers on the Hill (Hebrew, 2015), his debut collection of three short novels, won the Sapir Prize for best new work in 2016. This is the book he submitted for consideration.

Yosef Ozer


was born in Jerusalem and grew up in northern Israel. In the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War, Ozer embraced a more religiously-inclined Jewish identity. He studied education and literature at the University of Haifa and worked as an educational director in ultra-orthodox Jewish education until resigning with profound discontent. Ozer is the author of several volumes of poetry, and twice the recipient of the Prime Minister Levi Eshkol Prize for Literature. Ozer submitted for consideration his collection of poems Jezreel Valley – Jerusalem (Hebrew, 2013).

Atheer Safa


of Baqa al-Gharbiyye holds a master's degree in Arabic Language and Literature from Tel Aviv University. She wrote her master's thesis on the philosophy of ugliness in modern Arab literature. Her work spans the fields of informal education, literary criticism, language editing and translation. In 2013, Safa received a writing grant from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC). She published her first novel Tweet (Arabic) in 2014, and submitted it for consideration. The novel was nominated for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

Bustan Fellows - First Cohort

Contact Info

Efrat Waksman

Coordinator of Writers' Programs at the NLI


We wish to thank the supporters of Bustan:

The Nathan Cummings Foundation

Germanacos Foundation

Sally Gottesman