‘Palestine Writes Back’: New US Festival of Palestinian Literature

Librarians and Archivists with Palestine announced last week that they are co-sponsoring “the first major festival dedicated to the celebration and support of Palestinian literature in the United States”:

The festival, set to be held in New York City, from March 27 and 29, 2020, promises to bring together “writers, artists, publishers, booksellers, and scholars to read, present work, and have conversations about art, literature, and the intersections between culture, struggle, and politics.”

This festival is an outgrowth of the Palestine Literature Festival that was held, starting in 2007, in cities across Palestine.

Organizers add:

Palestine Writes Back will highlight the richness of Palestinian art for a North American audience who may not have had the opportunity to experience this work due to lack of linguistic access (limited translations of Arabic literature), the severe restrictions on movement of Palestinians, and the censorship and repression of Palestinian speech.  Palestine Writes Back will be a groundbreaking celebration of the power of Palestinian artistic visionaries and their supporters, bringing us together in the spirit of Mahmoud Darwish’s sentiment that we “have the right to smell autumn’s fragrances and ask the night for a dream.”

The festival has already confirmed an impressive slate of participants, including award-winning novelists Hala Alyan (Salt Houses), Huzama Habayeb (Velvet), Ibrahim Nasrallah (Time of White Horses, Gaza Weddings), Atef Abu Saif (The Drone Eats with Me), Raja Shehadeh (Where the Line is Drawn, Palestinian Walks), Adania Shibli (Touch, We Are All Equally Far from Love), and poets Dareen Tatour and Rafeef Ziadah.

The festival will also civil rights icon and scholar Angela Davis.

The festival is set to open 6 p.m. on Friday, March 27 with a reception followed by poetry and music. The following two days will include panels, plenaries, workshops, and a film screening. Those who are interested can register online; they are also still looking for donors to support the festival.

According to the website, they have raised $38,515 of the $150,000 they need to support the festival.