From now through May 9, 2014, the editors and and organizers of the poetry collection A Bird is not a Stone are running a campaign to rise £3,000 to distribute the book more widely and to support bringing Palestinian poets to Scotland and England for a series of readings:
Project organizers are aiming to get Maya Abu al-Hayyat involved in readings this coming August, noting that Abu al-Hayyat both contributed poems to the collection and wrote the book’s Arabic foreword.
Abu al-Hayyat won a “Young Creative Writer Award” in 2005 and the A.M. Qattan Foundation’s “Young Writer Award for Poetry” in 2006. A chapter from her novel, No One Knows His Blood Type, appeared in Banipal 45.
However, co-coordinator Sarah Irving said, “we haven’t made any decisions beyond that, and we’re very conscious of the kind of impediments that the UK Border Agency tends to put in the way of artists from the Middle East coming to Britain.” It wasn’t long ago, for instance, that Ali Abukhattab and Samah al-Sheikh were refused entry for the “Narrating Gaza” event in London, and Syrian author Samar Yazbek and Iraqi poet Sabreen Kadhim were also refused visas.
Ultimately, this means “we have to plan contingencies into all our events, such as live links and replacement readers.”
A Bird is not a Stone features work from twenty-five Palestinian poets that’s been bridge-translated by twenty-five of Scotland’s top poets. As Irving explained in an earlier interview, this is not a “definitive” collection of Palestine’s most acclaimed poets. Instead, it gives voice to poets “who haven’t been or who have rarely been translated into English.”
Although the bilingual collection will assuredly be coming out from Scotland’s Freight Books in the summer of 2014. But organizers want to do more than just publish the book: “We want to make sure that this collection and the messages it carries – of cultural vitality, of life, of communication – find the widest possible audience.” Funds raised will both allow them to share the book more widely and to bring Palestinian poets to events.
They hope to have some events that involve the Scottish Makar (national poet), Liz Lochhead, at the Edinburgh International Book Fair in mid- to late August, before sending poets off to Glasgow, London, and Oxford, among other places.
If you want to support bringing this collection to a wider audience, you can do so here.