Writing as life
09 Jun 2021
On 18 May 2021, PEN South Africa in partnership with Africa is a Country (AIAC) presented “Writing as a Cultural Weapon” or “Writing as a Life” (the latter title proposed by the participating Palestine writers). South African and Palestinian writers offered readings and reflections on – and solidarity with – Palestine. The event was chaired by Jay Pather, director of The Institute for Creative Arts (ICA), with readings from Rustum Kozain, Siphokazi Jonas and Heidi Grunebaum.
They were joined by Basman Elderawi, a Palestinian poet from Gaza and Mahmoud Al-Shaer an award-winning writer and poet from Gaza. Al-shaer read his poems in Arabic and they were translated by Katherine Halls. She also read two translations of poems by Ameer Hamad, who was unable to join the event. Hamad is a poet, short story writer and translator, whose work has appeared in Beirut Literature Magazine and the New Arab website. His first two collections: Gigi and Ali’s Rabbit, a collection of short stories, and I Searched for Their Keys in the Locks.
Adania Shibli, a Palestinian translator spoke about the title of the event “Writing as a Cultural Weapon” and suggested instead “Writing as a Life” is a more accurate indication of what they’re struggling for – that one sentence at a time, they write into the possible future.
The event is available to watch here: https://t.co/VbDfN0n0py?amp=1