This is Love: Orhan Pamuk Opens Inaugural Cairo Literature Festival

For those looking for just the right place to take a beloved on February 14, clearly there can be nowhere else but Beit El-Sehimi, where Orhan Pamuk, Ibrahim Abdelmeguid, and Sherine Abulnaga will kick off the first-ever Cairo Lit Festival:

Festival director Mohammed al-Baaly with Orhan Pamuk. From the Festival’s Facebook page.

The much-anticipated first-ever Cairo Literature Festival, managed by Sefsafa for Culture and Publishing, opens today with a bang: Nobel Prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk appears alongside august Egyptian novelist Ibrahim Abdelmeguid and Egyptian scholar Sherine Abulnaga.

The festival will run until Feb. 20 under the heading “Blending of Cultures and Communication Across Generations.”

According to organisers, the week-long literary throwdown aims to promote communication between readers, writers, and critics, and also to “strengthen ties among different generations of Egyptian and Arab writers.” Events are set to be held at a number of venues across Cairo.

The festival’s advisory committee includes celebrated writers, translators, and cultural activists from around the world, including novelists Ibrahim Abdel Meguid and Hamdy El-Gazzar, poet Abdelrahim Youssef, uber-translator Humphrey  Davies, president of the Istanbul Literature Festival Mehmet Demirtas, president of the Prague Writers’ Festival Michael Marsh, and editor of Akhbar al-Adab, Tarek Al-Taher.

With a little luck and a lack of red-tape interference, this will become a major international event.

A schedule of this year’s events:

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Festival Opening (7:00 pm)

Guests: Orhan Pamuk (Nobel Prize winner, 2006, Turkey) and Ibrahim Abdel-Maguid (Egypt), moderated by journalist Sherine Abul-Naga (Egypt)

Location: Beit El-Sehimi

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The East in European Writers’ Eyes (7:00 pm)

Guests: Christoph Peters (Germany) and EzzEldin Shoukry Feshir (Egypt), moderated by Heba Fathy(Cairo University, Egypt)

Location: Goethe Institute

Translating Arabic Literature; obstacles and prospects (7:00 pm)

Guests: Humphrey Davies (USA), Hamdy El-Gazzar (Egypt) and Ahmed El-Shahawy (Egypt), moderated by Anwar Mogheith (Egypt)

Location: Beit El-Sennari

Monday, 16 February 2015

Eastern Women Writing between Egypt and Europe (7:00 pm)

Guests: Monika Kompaníková (Slovakia), Petra Hilová (Czech Republic) and Mansoura EzzEldin (Egypt), moderated by Khaled ElBeltagi (Faculty of Languages, Egypt)

Location: Doum Cultural Foundation

Kuwaiti Youth Voices (7:00 pm)

Guests: Ibrahim Al-Hindal (Kuwait), Moubarak Kamal (Kuwait) and Afrah Al-Hindal (Kuwait), moderated byYassir Abdel-Hafiz (Egypt)

Location: Cairo Atelier (Downtown)

Writings of Youth Writers in Central and Eastern Europe (7:00 pm)

Guests: Dénes Krusovszky (Hungary) Stanslaw Strasburger (Poland) and Andrzej Muszyński (Poland), moderated by Ali Al-Adawy (Egypt)

Location: Beit El-Sennari

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Best Seller Literature, Art Principles and Audience Requirements (1:00 pm)

Guests: Ahmed Mourad (Egypt), Hassan Kamal (Egypt) and Sayed El-Wakil (Egypt), moderated by Mustafa El-Faramawi (Egypt)

Location: Faculty of Languages, Ain Shams University

Voices from European Literature (7:00 pm)

Guests: Micheál ÓConghaile (Ireland), Kätlin Kaldmaa (Estonia), Ilma Rakusa (Switzerlan) and Christos Papadopulos (Greece), moderated by Abdelrehim Youssef (Egypt)

Location: Doum Cultural Foundation

Arabic Literature Away from Publishing Centres (7:00 pm)

Guests: Ibrahim Al-Hindal (Kuwait), Mohamed AlAsfur (Libya), Fadi Zaghmout (Jordan) and Hammour Ziada (Sudan), moderated by Mohamed Shoair (Egypt)

Location: Cairo Atelier (Downtown)

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Translating Literature into Arabic, Egypt’s Location on the Map (1:00 pm)

Guests: Anwar Mogheith (Egypt), Sohair El-Mosadfa (Egypt) and Refaat Sallam (Egypt), moderated byLeila Gamal-Eldin (Egypt)

Location: Faculty of Languages, Ain Shams University

New Writing in German Language Today (7:00pm)

Guests: Ilma Rakusa (Switzerland), Christoph Peters (Germany) and Ricarda Junge (Germany).

Location: Kotob Khan Maadi

Current International Poetry Scene, Voices from the World (7:00 pm)

Guests: Kätlin Kaldmaa (Estonia), Mohamed Eid Ibrahim (Egypt) and Milena Oda (Czech), moderated bySayed Mahmoud (Egypt)

Location: Beit El-Sit Wasila (Beit Al-Shi’r / Poetry House)

Dive Into the World of a Foreign Writer (7:00 pm)

Guests: Tariq Imam (Egypt), Persa Koumoutsi (Greece), moderated by Khaled Raouf (Egypt)

Location: Doum Cultural Foundation

Thursday, 19 February 2015       

Cairo Youth Voices (7:00 pm)

Guests: Areeg Gamal (Egypt), Mustafa Soliman (Egypt) and Ahmed Shawqy Ali (Egypt), Asmaa El-Shikh(Egypt), moderated by Hamdy El-Gazzar (Egypt)

Location: Wekalet Al-Ghouri

Voice of the People: Contemporary Colloquial Poetry (7:00 pm)

Guests: Sayed Hegab (Egypt), Mustafa Ibrahim (Egypt), Mohamed Ibrahim (Egypt), Wael Fathi (Egypt),Maysara Salah-Eddine (Egypt) and Walid Abelmonem (Egypt), moderated by the actor Sabry Fawaz(Egypt)

Location: Wekalet Al-Ghouri