Khaled Khalifa and ‘Syria Speaks’ Coming to England Next Month

Several Syrian artists will tour the UK this June to launch Syria Speaks, a new PEN-supported anthology of art and culture to be published by Saqi Books:

tumblr_inline_mt29lwKGmX1qz4rgpAccording to organizers, the line-up will include two-time IPAF-shortlisted novelist Khaled Khalifa,cinematographer and video artist Khalil Younes, writer and filmakmer Zaher Omareen, and authors Malu Halasa and Robin Yassin-Kassab.

The evenings of readings, music, and films are set to start at London’s Rich Mix before they tour to Bristol, Oxford, Liverpool, Bradford and Durham. The artists will also run workshops — in conjunction with English PEN — at schools, refugee community centers, and a prison.

This tour will coincide with the launch Syria Speaks, a collection of the work of more than 50 Syrian artists. According to Halasa, one of the editors, “Syria Speaks came out of the exhibitions of Syrian uprising art that the three of us [editors] did in 2012-13 in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and London.”

Contributors include Khaled Khalifa, Samer Yazbek, Yassin El Haj Saleh, Hassan Abbas, Yara Badr, Rasha Omran, and Ali Safar and artists Ali Ferzat, Masasit Mati, Alshaab Alsori Aref Tarekh, Youseff Abdelki, Khalil Younes, and Sulafa Hijazi.

The translators are also a key part of this project: Ghias Aljundi, Anne-Marie MacManus, and Alice Guthrie.

In a prepared statement, Lynn Gaspard, CEO of Saqi Books, said:

‘In Syria, courageous individuals continue to make a stand against tyranny and to create and disseminate their art and words. Syria Speaks is a unique, inspiring and devastating work, capturing over 50 artists’ and writers’ aspirations, dreams and pain. I feel very privileged and am incredibly proud to be publishing this book and to be involved in the tour, which will highlight the role of culture in times of conflict. I am very grateful to the various organisations that are supporting the UK tour. The book’s editors have also to be commended for their courage and vision, and for their determination to publish this book (it is no easy feat assembling over 35 pieces from a war-torn country).’

The Syria Speaks tour, as it stands now:

June 11 – Rich Mix, an evening of readings, music and film, London. 7pm
June 12 –Festival of Ideas, Foyles Bookshop, Bristol. 6pm Bookshop
June 13  – Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. 6.30pm
June 14  – Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, Liverpool. 5pm
June 15  – FUSE Gallery, Bradford. 4pm
June 16  – Durham University, School of Government and International Affairs, Durham

The book itself is set to be released on June 16.