Palestinian literature has long been a site of cultural expression, as has Palestinian art and cinema. From Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry to contemporary slam poets, Palestine’s rich history of the oral and written word deserves a spotlight, especially considering Israel’s systematic, active erasure of its culture.
This literary festival in the U.S., gathering over 80 participants who vary from authors, to literary critics, to activists, is the first major event of its kind to take place in the country, celebrating Palestinian literature, produced across the diaspora and beyond.
Debuting on March 27, Palestine Writes Literature Festival will connect the likes of Black Panthers activist and renowned writer Angela Davis - who will deliver a keynote speech - with Palestinian industry pioneers - such as Ibrahim Nasrallah, who won the Arabic Booker Prize in 2018 - and up-and-coming, 2nd and 3rd generation immigrant writers, like award-winning poet Nathalie Handal.
Also attending the festival will be pioneers of Palestine’s other cultural industries, including veteran filmmaker Mai Masri and renowned Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History, Joseph Massad.
Spanning 3 days in New York University’s Kimmel Centre, the festival will include panels, talks, speeches and entertainment segments that range from music and art to comedy sketches.
From food sovereignty to the importance of representation in children’s books, the festival will tackle tens of subjects relevant to contemporary Palestinian life - whether across the diaspora or from the confines of the occupation - through the lens of literature.
The Festival’s dates purposefully coincide with Land Day in Palestine, a commemmoration of popular nonviolent Palestinian protests and loss of life in opposition to Israel’s violent - ongoing - mass expropriation of Palestinian Land in 1976.
You can find out more about the festival, and access the programme, here.