The fourth Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) is announced today. Taking place from 15 - 20 April 2011 it will travel to Jerusalem, Nazareth,
Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem, Ramallah, al-Khalil/Hebron and Silwan.
A host of award-winning international authors, poets and journalists will participate in this year's festival including the Man Booker Prize longlisted author Mohammed Hanif; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, novelist and critic Lorraine Adams; American novelist and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Richard Price; British journalist, writer and broadcaster John McCarthy; British biographer, critic and journalist Anne Chisholm.
Chair and founder of PalFest, Ahdaf Soueif says: "At a time when the spectacular push for freedom in the Arab world is capturing the world's attention, it is particularly important for PalFest to continue to travel to its audiences, imprisoned behind checkpoints; to work with its bookseller, threatened with deportation, and to forge creative links between Palestine and the world."
Meeting the international participants in Palestine will be architect and novelist Suad Amiry, lawyer and author Raja Shehadeh, poet and editor Najwan Darwish, poet and television presenter Asmaa Azaizeh, writer and historian Bassem Ra'ad, editor and poet Tariq Hamdan, novelist and translator Ala Hlehel, and novelist and newspaper editor Akram Musallem, writer and singer Tania Nasser and composer Rima Tarazi.
Also taking part this year are leading lights from the world of UK publishing and media including: award-winning journalist and author Gary Younge, writer and broadcaster Bidisha; Director of Jewish Book Week Geraldine D'Amico; Peter Florence, Director of the Hay Festivals Group and Ursula Owen, Founder of the Free Word Centre, former Editor and CEO of Index on Censorship and Founder director of Virago.
Palestinian writer and architect Suad Amiry says:
"What more do Palestine and the Palestinians need than breaking the isolation created by the Israeli Occupation for the last 44 years? Ahdaf Soueif's positive thinking and energy created PalFest which annually takes writers to Palestine. To live at first hand is what all good writing needs - and that is what Palfest is all about."
PalFest 2011 participant Peter Florence says:
"PalFest is one of the most important festivals in the world. It plays an extraordinary role in telling truths that aren't heard. It strips the whole festival fandango to its core: writers and readers and stories and being together."
PalFest affirms the equal weight of English and Arabic speaking cultures. It is committed to providing a two-way experience for all its participants, audiences and authors, students and speakers. It's the Festival where everyone performs, everyone gives and everyone gets.
To that end, PalFest will be working with more than twenty Palestinian organisations to help deliver this year's Festival. The principal partners are The British Council, the Open Society, the A.M. Qattan Foundation and Riwaq as well as a number of private donors.
PalFest's inaugural festival was held in 2008 reaching audiences of thousands in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem. Because of the difficulties faced by Palestinians trying to travel in their country under military occupation, PalFest travels to different cities and will once again embark on a tour of the West Bank - taking in Jerusalem, Nablus, Nazareth, Jenin, Bethlehem, Ramallah, al-Khalil/Hebron and Silwan.