According to the PalFest Facebook group, “The PalFest group was detained for six hours at the border. But now they’re through and the show will begin!”
And indeed it did.
PalFest posted dozens of photos from Day One; these included time on the bus, landscape shots, and photos of the event at the Palestinian National Theater in Jerusalem. The first event was “Celebrating Taha Muhammad Ali.” Ahdaf Souief moderated the discussion.
A collection of Ali’s work in English translation, with facing Arabic, was published in 2006. It’s titled So What: New & Selected Poems, 1971–2005, and was translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi, and Gabriel Levin and published by Copper Canyon Press.
Today, the PalFest crew travels to Nablus, and the 7:30 p.m. event is titled “Pathfinding,” and features Suad Amiry, Hala Shrouf, Raja Shehadeh, and is moderated by Sonia Nimr.
Amiry is the author of the acclaimed Sharon and My Mother-in-Law and also has a breezy, engaging new book of literary journalism, Nothing to Lose But Your Life: An Eighteen Hour Journey With Murad, out this month in English from Bloomsbury Qatar. Shrouf is a Palestinian poet, and Shehadeh the engaging author of Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape. Nimr is, among other things, the adapter of Ghaddar the Ghoul and Other Palestinian Stories.
Also, Jamie Archer is tweeting (is that the correct verb usage?) about the events. After four hours of “pointless waiting,” he commented: “I just don’t get this kind of border arrangement it’s not for security it’s purely for nuisance and intimidation.” But Archer apparently got through; no mention yet of the night’s event, but he enjoyed the conversation and the tabbouleh.