Book Passage Presents: Rebecca Sacks - City of a Thousand Gates (Online Event)


Thursday, March 18th, 2021

Live • Online • 5:00pm PT/8:00pm ET

In conversation with Lameece Issaq


Brave and bold, this gorgeously written novel introduces a large cast of characters from various backgrounds in a setting where violence is routine and where survival is defined by boundaries, walls, and checkpoints that force people to live and love within and across them.

Hamid, a college student, has entered Israeli territory illegally for work. Rushing past soldiers, he bumps into Vera, a German journalist headed to Jerusalem to cover the story of Salem, a Palestinian boy beaten into a coma by a group of revenge-seeking Israeli teenagers. On her way to the hospital, Vera runs in front of a car that barely avoids hitting her. The driver is Ido, a new father traveling with his American wife and their baby. Ido is distracted by thoughts of a young Jewish girl murdered by a terrorist who infiltrated her settlement. Ori, a nineteen-year-old soldier from a nearby settlement, is guarding the checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem through which Samar—Hamid’s professor—must pass.

These multiple strands open this magnificent and haunting novel of present-day Israel and Palestine, following each of these diverse characters as they try to protect what they love. Their interwoven stories reveal complicated, painful truths about life in this conflicted land steeped in hope, love, hatred, terror, and blood on both sides.

City of a Thousand Gates brilliantly evokes the universal drives that motivate these individuals to think and act as they do—desires for security, for freedom, for dignity, for the future of one’s children, for land that each of us, no matter who or where we are, recognize and share.

Rebecca Sacks graduated from the Programs in Writing at the University of California, Irvine. In 2019, she received a Canada Council for the Arts grant, as well as the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation’s Henfield Prize for fiction. She has been awarded fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, and the Mellon-Sawyer Documenting War Seminar Series. After graduating from Dartmouth College, she worked for several years at Vanity Fair before moving to Israel, where she received a master’s in Jewish Studies. Her dispatches from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have been published in journals such as the Paris Review Daily. Rebecca Sacks is a citizen of Canada, the United States, and Israel.

Lameece Issaq is an actor, writer and Founding Artistic Director of the Obie-winning company Noor Theatre, dedicated to the work of theater artists of Middle Eastern descent. Lameece has appeared in several regional and off-Broadway theater productions, including The Fever Chart and Stuff Happens (Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Ensemble) at the Public Theatre, The Black Eyed at New York Theatre Workshop and Noura at The Old Globe, among others. As a playwright, she’s written various short plays produced in The New York Arab-American Comedy Festival; as well as Noor & Hadi Go to Hogwarts (Theater Breaking Through Barriers, Golden Thread Theater); and Nooha’s List, part of the compilation play, Motherhood Outloud (Hartford Stage, The Geffen and Primary Stages). Her full length play Food and Fadwa, 2011 recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, premiered off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop, a production she co-produced and starred in, and in which Variety magazine praised her performance as “stunning.” Food and Fadwa was a part of the Arab Voices Festival in both Abu Dhabi and Beirut and was published in the anthology Contemporary Plays By Women of Color, second edition. She also co-wrote the feature film Abe, directed by Fernando Grostein Andrade, and starring Stranger Things’ Noah Schnapp, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. She is currently developing her solo play, A Good Day to Me, Not to You, a fictionalized story based on her time living in a woman’s rooming house run by nuns in New York City. Lameece is a member of The Dramatists Guild, AEA and SAG-AFTRA. 2016 NYFA Finalist in Playwriting/Screenwriting. Find more at



City of a Thousand Gates: A Novel By Rebecca Sacks Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780063011472
Published: Harper - February 2nd, 2021