If You’re in Ramallah: ‘Writing in Times of Siege’

Thanks to Nora Lester Murad for passing this on:

githaNajwan Darwish, écrivain, Bruxelles, mars 208The Palestine Writing Workshop, in partnership with the Palestine Festival of Literature and Dar Zahran, is organizing a panel discussion on “Writing in Times of Siege” with writers Githa Hariharan and Najwan Darwish.

The discussion is set for Monday, March 18 at 6:30 at Dar Zahran (across from Arab Bank, Ramallah Tahta).

According to organizers:

Githa Hariharan’s published work includes novels, short stories, essays, newspaper articles and columns. Her first novel, The Thousand Faces of Night (1992) won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1993. Her other novels include The Ghosts of Vasu Master (1994), When Dreams Travel (1999), In Times of Siege (2003), and Fugitive Histories (2009). A collection of highly acclaimed short stories, The Art of Dying, was published in 1993, and a book of stories for children, The Winning Team, in 2004.

Poet Najwan Darwish is one of the “Beirut39” laureates (best Arab authors under 40), and one of the young Arabic-language poets of note. He published his first collection in 2000 and his works have since been translated into 10 languages — translator Kareem James Abu-Zeid is currently working on a translation into English. The collection is set for publication by New York Review of Books in 2014, to be called Selected Poems. Darwish also is the current literary adviser to the Palestine Festival of Literature.

A number of Darwish’s poems are available online.

From Poetry International Web, trans. Abu-Zeid:

From the Free Word Centre, trans. Abu-Zeid:

Like These Trees

From the Hay Festival, trans. Antoine Jockey and Marilyn Hacker:

The Nightmare Bus to Sabra and Shatila

Also, with permission, trans. Antoine Jockey and Marilyn Hacker:


These days, my mother is enthralled in reading about Jesus. I see piles of books near her bed (she often takes them from my own bookshelves): novels, do-it-yourself manuals, books on the sects, quarrelling authors. Sometimes when I’m passing by her bedroom, she calls me to settle their disputes (not long ago I came to the aid of an Orthodox historian called Kamal Salibi after a Catholic stone had slashed his forehead!)
How serious she is in her research on Jesus, this woman whom I’ve always disappointed:
I wasn’t martyred during the first Intifada, nor during the second, nor even during the third.
Just between us, I’m not going to become a martyr in any Intifada coming up
And I won’t die blown up by a worry bomb either!
She reads, and her Orthodox imagination crucifies me on every page
While all I do is supply her with more books and nails!