By Ruba Hattar
Palestine Writes Literature Festival, originally scheduled to take place in New York City in March, 2020, but which was canceled due to the pandemic, will now take place virtually December 2—6, 2020. Palestine Writes will bring together over 69 renowned writers, artists, publishers, booksellers, and scholars to hold conversations about art, literature, and the intersections between culture, struggle, and politics. There will be workshops, cooking demonstrations, music, children's programming, prizes, networking, and much more on a cutting edge virtual platform.
As dire as the situation in Palestine is, this literary festival gives hope by showing the necessity of literature. We continue, as always, to need writers and their words to help us imagine a new way forward. Viet Thanh Nguyen-Pulitzer-Prize winner and author of The Sympathizer
Palestine Writes will highlight the richness of Palestinian art and literature for a global audience, who may not have had the opportunity to experience this work due to lack of linguistic access, the severe restrictions on movement of Palestinians, and the censorship and repression of Palestinian speech in the US, organizers said.
"The Festival’s dates are timed to coincide with Land Day in Palestine, which commemorates widespread popular nonviolent Palestinian protests and loss of life in opposition to Israel’s violent mass expropriation of Palestinian Land in 1976 - an expropriation which is still ongoing" they added.
Palestine Writes is sponsored in part by support from The Lannan Foundation, The Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, Columbia University Center for Palestine Studies, The Jerusalem Fund, The Qattan Foundation, the Palestine Foundation, Playgrounds for Palestine, and New Generation for Palestine. Media partners include Mondoweiss, Jacobin Magazine, Truthout, and In These Times.
According to the festival program, some of the great authors participating will be Alice Walker, Ibrahim Nasrallah, Susan Muaddi Darraj, Taghreed Al-Najjar, Susan Abu AlHawa, Samia Halabi, Natalie Handal. In addition to film maker Anne Marie Jasser, standup comedian Amer Zaher and key note speakers like Dr. Hanan Ashrawi.
We celebrate our life and our future and maintain our humanity and collective vision through literature and the arts. This literary festival is an affirmation of this exceptional form of struggle and resilience. Dr. Hanan Ashrawi-Scholar, intellectual, and Palestinian legislator
The common threads uniting all participants are the love of books and support of justice for Palestine. "Our festival honors the many historic personalities who have walked this path before us, and showcases living voices celebrating Palestinian life, devoted to the belief that art challenges repression and creates bonds between Palestine and the rest of the world," the organizers stated.
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