Palestine Writes Festival returns

Palestine Writes Literature Festival Returns with an Outstanding Line-up of Writers and Artists

بيان صحفي (للنشر الفوري)

عودة المهرجان الأدبي العالمي “فلسطين تكتب” بثُلة مميزة من الكُتّاب والفنانين البارزين

Philadelphia, July 24 – Three years after COVID-19 forced the inaugural Palestine Writes Festival to be held virtually, the only Palestinian literature festival in North America is back with an impressive list of writers, artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, and other intellectuals. The festival will be held at the University of Pennsylvania’s historic Irvine Auditorium from September 22-24, 2023.

Speakers include Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, Arabic Booker Prize winner Ibrahim Nasrallah, celebrated filmmaker Darin Sallam, rock music legend Roger Waters, and dozens more renowned authors, such as Elias Khoury, Huzama Habayeb, Isabella Hammad, Sahar Mustafah, Suad Amiry, Salman AbuSitta, Gary Younge, Nur Masalha, and more.

The festival will be bilingual, with simultaneous translation for most sessions. The program and speaker list are published online, featuring (1) continuous children and YA (young adult) programming; (2) Coffee and Books sessions; (3) panel discussions; (4) plenaries; (5) Hakawati oral storytelling; (6) an art exhibit; (7) workshops; (8) presentations; (9) a film screening, and; (10) live performances.

Some highlights of the festival include:

  • Spoken Word Poetry. Palestinian poet Dana Dajani with Aboriginal Australian poet [Wiradjuri/Gamilaroipoet] Lorna Munro on opening night.
  • The Cost and Rewards of Friendship. A discussion with Viet Thanh Nguyen, Gary Younge, Roger Waters, and Rachel Holmes on what it means to live ethically and in solidarity with Palestinians in the midst of an empire that holds Palestinians in contempt.
  • The Novel as a Historic Record. Lebanese writer Elias Khoury, Aboriginal Australian writer Ali Cobby Eckermann, and Viet Thanh Nguyen will talk about the ways in which novels correct, obfuscate, reinvent, or destabilize history.
  • Literature from a Collective Wound. Huzama Habayeb, Mahmoud Shqeir, Ibrahim Nasrallah, and Mahmoud Muna will discuss how Palestinian writers and artists often write from the shared generational trauma born from the Nakba and its impact on literature across the diaspora.
  • Film director Darin Sallam, creator of “Farha,” a ground-breaking Palestinian film that streamed on Netflix and was Jordan’s submission for the Oscars, will talk about her film and Palestinian cinema in general.
  • Salman Abu Sitta will give a presentation on the Right of Return, and How to Achieve it.
  • A series of Hakawati and Hakawatiyyeh sessions will narrate stories from Palestine in this ancient oral storytelling tradition.
  • Palestinian chefs Fadi Kattan, owner of Fawda Restaurant and Akub London, and co-author of “Craving Palestine,” and Reem Assil, owner of Reem’s California and author of “Arabiyya,” will talk about Palestinian cuisine, food appropriation, and agricultural traditions cultivated over centuries in Palestine.
  • Al-Ajaweed Dabke Troupe, traveling to Philadelphia from the Palestinian refugee camp of Baqa’a in Jordan, will perform Palestinian traditional line dance to folkloric songs.

The Festival will be the most dynamic gathering of Palestinian creatives in North America. In addition, the newly formed Palestine Writes Press will launch its first book, a translation and reprint of “Ghassan Kanafani,” at the Festival. The book was written by the legendary Palestinian writer’s widow, Anni Kanafani, and will feature a new foreword by Kanafani’s childhood friend Dr. Fadle Naqib and an introduction by scholar and historian Louis Allday.

The Press also plans to release an anthology of fiction, poetry, and other creative prose by Palestinians across the diaspora in 2024.

About Palestine Writes

Palestine Writes is the only North American literature festival dedicated to celebrating and promoting cultural productions of Palestinian writers and artists. Born from the pervasive exclusion or tokenization of Palestinian voices in mainstream literary institutions, Palestine Writes brings Palestinian cultural workers from all parts of Historic Palestine and our exiled Diaspora together with peers from other marginalized groups in the United States.

Crossing multiple borders — geographic, linguistic, generational, and cultural boundaries — writers, artists, publishers, booksellers, scholars, musicians, and thinkers hold conversations about art, literature, and the intersections between culture and power, struggle, politics, climate change, sexuality, human rights, animal rights, food sovereignty, and more.

Contact: For more information, contact Laura Albast or Rana Sharif ([email protected]).

Workers World Party is proud to be one of the official sponsors of this event.

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