“A wonderful inititive…it is not by the gun that the issues which face us will be settled but by sharing cultures.”
H.E. Prof Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian General Delegate to the UK
Internationally acclaimed poet Mourid Barghouti left his home town of Ramallah for university in Cairo, shortly before the outbreak of the Six Day War. The occupation left him unable to return home for some twenty nine years. Barghouti’s lyrical memoir of his return from exile, I Saw Ramallah, was described by The Times Literary Supplement as “the most eloquent statement in English of what it is like to be a Palestinian today.” It won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in 1998, and Barghouti received the Palestine Award for Poetry in 2000.
On Friday 13 October Barghouti will read in Manachester alongside Booker-shorltlisted novelist Ahdaf Soueif – whose translation of I Saw Ramallah brought Barghouti’s memoir to world attention – at the Opening Night of the Manchester Festival of Palestinian Literature.
On Saturday 14 October, the nation’s best loved poet Carol Ann Duffy will read alongside the First Lady of Palestinian letters, Salma Khadra Jayyusi. And on Sunday 16 October Manchester music star Guy Garvey, of Mercrury Award-nominated band Elbow will support Palestinian singer Reem Kelani at a special concert to mark the close of the festival.
The festival is being hosted by the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, and will feature six ‘shared platform’ events pairing writers from Palestine, the diaspora, and the English-speaking world.
Festival Director Danny Moran comments: “We are hugely proud to be paying host to some of the finest writers in the Arabic and English-speaking worlds. Palestine has a unique and compelling literature, and has produced some of the finest poets, novelists and short story writers in the Arab world. We are delighted that so many of them will be joining us in Manchester for the festival.”
“Congratulations on your brilliant Palestinian initiative. Bloody great!” Peter Florence, director, the Hay Festival
“Palestinians are the inheritors of one of the greatest traditions of the Middle East…good luck” Tony Benn
“Marvellous for Manchester” Guy Garvey, Elbow
“I am delighted that we are celebrating Palestinian life and culture in Manchester” Rt Rev Steven Lowe, Bishop of Hulme
“I am certain on your part, and that of your organisation, that the truth will be out” Salma Khadra Jayyusi
“Good luck to the festival. May it help to break the isolation of the Palestinians” Ken Loach
“How wonderful that this city should celebrate the literary flowering of that culture” Anthony H. WIlson
“All the best with the festival” Seamus Heaney