Welcome to a World of Literature

Everything you need to know about the world's great writers and emerging voices is being collected and shared on the English PEN Online World Atlas. Head over to the Atlas to create (or edit) a profile for your favourite author or book, leave a comment or contact another user, and discover your next great read. We believe that great writing has the power to change your life and change the world, one book at a time.

The Atlas is proud to be partnering with the Hay Festival's Beirut39 contest, celebrating Beirut's year as UNESCO World Book Capital, to find the hottest authors under 40 of Arabic origin. Nominations are open until August 24th, 2009.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Festivals: Free the Word, Palestine Festival of Literature

In London today International PEN's Free the Word festival kicks off. Running through the weekend, it boasts a packed calendar of themed events exploring Heaven and Earth -- set off beautifully by the festival's primary location, Shakespeare's Globe. The festival brings together writers from around the world, many of whom make their homes in the UK, including to UK-based Arab writers: Samir El-Youssef will take part in "Beyond Faith and Reason" this evening, while on Sunday Leila Aboulela will join controversial French author Catherine Millet to discuss "Heavenly Pleasures."

Travelling in the opposite direction, 17 international writers head to Palestine for the second Palestine Festival of Literature from 23rd-28th May 2009. Because of the difficulties Palestinians face under military occupation in travelling around their own country, the Festival group of 17 international writers will travel to its audiences in the West Bank. It will tour to Ramallah, to Jenin, to al-Khalil/Hebron and to Bethlehem. To mark Jerusalem’s status as Cultural Capital of the Arab World for 2009, the festival will begin and end in Jerusalem. On the occasion of the first festival, last year, Mahmoud Darwish said:
Thank you, dear friends, for your noble solidarity, thank you for your courageous gesture to break the moral siege inflicted upon us and thank you because you are resisting the invitation to dance on our graves. We are still here. We are still alive.

This year, there are several Arab writers participating: Suad Amiry, Suheir Hammad, Nathalie Handal, Robin Yassin-Kassab, Jamal Mahjoub, Raja Shehadeh, and Ahdaf Soueif. Soueif, chair and Founder of PALFEST, said
We were overwhelmed by the responses of both our audience and our authors last year; so we can't wait to go back. We found that Palestinian cities – even in theextraordinarily cruel circumstances in which they find themselves – manage to produce brilliant art and top class education. PALFEST aims to help them carry on doing that.
The Palestine Festival of Literature was inspired by the call of the late great Palestinian thinker, Edward Said, to “reaffirm the power of culture over the culture of power.” PALFEST 09 is organized in co-operation with Yabous Productions, and in partnership with the British Council.

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites MetaxuCafe