A gift from N3rdistan to Liverpool – N3 to Liverpool is an exclusive playlist compiled and curated by the iconic musical collective helping you explore the very best in emerging Arab music.
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival audiences will remember N3rdistan from their virtual visit to the festival to launch the 2020 digital edition. The live performance by Walead Ben Selim and Moroccan musical collective N3rdistan was an introduction for many music fans to the mystical tunes and the abrasive flow by the charismatic artists.
Between rock, trip hop, electro, oriental-beat with world influences, this quartet mixes with ease digital power, ancestral Arabic poetry, the targeted singing intermingling here and there with the melodies of a Qanoon and African Keys. Without falling into the trap of ethnic-electro this firey sonorisation serves as an engine to this group producing the most highly musical journey of the moment.
Listen to their exclusive playlist here
“Here we are at the dawn of a new world. Here we are building a new art, new vibration at the crossroads, we are building cultural bridges at a time when others would like to see us separated. Here between a cha3bi rock and an electrified classical Arabic, a new scene emerges from the rubble, a new breath carries away the dust and our scenes are detached from codes and barriers. The only label we want is the label of free music and ‘we are still here and the dream continues ‘.”
Walead Ben Selim biography
Born in Casablanca in 1984, Walead Ben Selim was a bright and inquisitive student who rebelled from childhood. At school he founded with Houssine otherwise Wu-Sen, one of the first rap group of Morocco, ‘Thug-gang” joined by Widad Broco the first women rap artist of the Arabic world, which then became “TG Crew”, a dozen groups playing rap, dance, Graff. Moroccan rap was thus at his beginning and Thug Gang played a critical and abrasive hip-hop, oscillating between the need for limits, and social uprising. With time they became the flag bearers for their friends but also for the Moroccans youth suffering from lack of liberty and new forms of artistic expression. Together they won the ‘tremplin’ for young musicians in 2001 and the Moroccan hip-hop championship.
In 2011 after travelling and cultural exchanges with Africa, Asia, and Europa, Walead called upon Nidhal JAOUA a multi-instrumentalist to create a digital synopsis of his musical experiences to build the foundations of the group with Widad, joined by Cyril Canerie a studio drummer, of Internationnal renown and Khalil Hentai (Epi), the group became finally formed in May 2014 before being selected for the “Inouîs de printemps de Bourges” in 2015.
Trans generational and transgender, appealing and incredibly mystical, N3rdistan is on the frontier of electronic music, rap and Arabic poetry. On stage, N3rdistan is a ball of energy, which get stronger as the minutes go by, the melodies sometimes aggressive, sometimes gentle are sung by unusual voices in which the ease surprises and destabilises, an explosion of colours.
Join us for a collective mapping workshop inspired by the themes of Jessica El Mal’s installation Grounds for Concern, on display at Mann Island Atrium between 16 July – 15 August as part of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2021.
Using printing and college, participants will reappropriate maps and reimagine borders significant to them. This will include legal treaties, geo-political policies, economic and ecological developments, as well as land acquisitions, affecting the area between the European Union (EU) and North Africa.
Grounds for Concern delves deeper into the history of borders and land acquisition, exploring the cultural and collective potentials of how to rewrite what we think we know about the world. In this workshop, research is used as an artistic tool against division and property.
Jessica El Mal is an English-Moroccan creative dedicated to valuing time, care and human connection in everything she works on. With a particular interest in ecology and migration, her work is both deeply personal and yet draws on the universality of the human experience through a balance of digital techniques, aesthetics and interaction. The work tends to address global structures of power through critical research, multidisciplinary projects, and speculative future imaginaries often centered around collaboration, co-curation and collective knowledge systems.
This year’s film programme lets you watch some of the best Arab Cinema online, and we have developed a reading list so you can explore the films in advance.
Each month has two films for you to enjoy. Linked thematically, they are designed to be enjoyed as a double bill or to watch separately. There are so many stories to share from the world of Arab film. It’s a rich and varied industry, with long lasting film tradition and culture. Our programme is designed for those just discovering Arab Cinema, as well as those seasoned film lovers.
Our July and August programme is live now. This year we’re using on the online platform Eventive. You can create a login or sign up using Facebook, then watch the films via any browser or online device. Each films is £5 to watch and are available for different lengths of time, because of licensing. If you pre-order, you’ll get a notification when the film is available to watch. You’ll have seven days to start watching the film after it is made available. Once you start watching, you’ll have 24 hours to finish the film.
The Perfect Candidate
Available 16 – 31 July
Haifaa Al Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate tells the story of a determined young Saudi doctor’s surprise run for office in the local city elections sweeps up her family and community as they struggle to accept their town’s first female candidate.
The film, which was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 76th Venice International Film Festival is Al Mansour’s fifth feature. She is perhaps best known for her ground-breaking and award-winning WADJDA from 2012, the first feature film ever shot entirely inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Pre-book your ticket to watch The Perfect Candidate here
Available 22 – 25 July
Arab Blues, or Un divan à Tunis, is a French-Tunisian comedy, the debut of director Manele Labidi Labbé. It tells the story of Tunisian psychoanalyst Selma who, after being educated in Paris, moves back to Tunisia to open a psychoanalytic practice.
The 2019 film had its world premiere at the 76th Venice International Film festival.
Watch an interview with director Manele Labidi from Cascade Festival of African Films here
Ibrahim, Manar, Suleiman and Altayeb are the members of the Sudanese Film Club founded in 1989. Unable to make films for years, they have decided to revive an old cinema. They are united not only by their love of cinema and their passionate desire to restore old films and draw attention to Sudanese film history once more, but also by the fact that they all enjoyed a film education outside Sudan.
Their plans to renovate the outdoor cinema come up against bureaucracy, lack of cash and a general fear of upsetting “he who cannot be named.” (The film was made before the recent overthrow of Omar al-Bashir).
In the meantime, they sit together and talk about the past and the history of Sudanese cinema, including their experiences of persecution and even torture as oppositional artists. They recall their times of exile and dream of a Sudan in which art and intellectual thought can be free. We are smarter than them, but not as strong, is the conclusion.
Pre-order your ticket to watch Talking About Trees here
Roll ‘Em 12 – 15 August
Omar Nizar works as a filmmaker and Founding Partner at a production company; a job he finds too superficial and non-artistic, mainly revolving around advertising, which he abhors. When his partner, Muhannah, asks him to create a commercial focusing on the history of Jeddah for a soulless and inauthentic product to please a client, Omar refuses and holds on to his principles, believing he should portray the country for what it truly is.
Jeddah to Omar is the place he grew up in, where his family and friends live, also his girlfriend Lina Najjar. They have been in a. relationship for two years, with Jeddah playing a role in shaping their relationship.
Arts Canteen and Liverpool Arab Arts Festival are delighted to open applications for the first edition of Maharat مهارات (Arabic for Skills), our development programme for emerging creative professionals.
The programme is designed to offer an introduction for people of Arab origin to working in the creative industries, including music, film, events, performing arts and festivals. We will give five ambitious, curious, and emerging creative professionals from Arab backgrounds, who are based in England, the opportunity to develop their craft and professionalism. Participants will make vital new professional connections through tailored mentorship and training. It will serve as a key moment in helping kick-start their careers in the creative industries.
The programme will take place in two parts:
a series of 5 online seminars, panel discussions, and workshops that brings some of the most influential industry experts that Arts Canteen and Liverpool Arab Arts Festival invites based on the needs of the five selected creative practitioners
2 mentorship sessions from other industry professionals, based on the practitioners’ needs and areas of interest
The programme will run over five months between August and December 2021 and take place online via Zoom for the group sessions.
1-2-1 sessions will either take place online or in person, dependent on location of the mentor and participant and current Covid-19 guidance. All the sessions will be run by Arab creative professionals based in both the UK and overseas.
To be considered for the scheme, applicants must be based in England and be of Arab origin, with less than two years experience of working in the creative industries.
Successful applicants will receive an honorarium of £50 per session (£350 in total).
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF), the UK’s longest running festival of Arab arts and culture, returns in July 2021 for its 23rd edition. The multi-artform programme of live and online events is an artist-led response to the complexities of the climate emergency in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region today.
The first wave of festival events encompasses July and August, with events for September, October and November being released later in the year. LAAF’s launch programme features the world premiere of Eating The Copper Appleby poet lisa luxx; Grounds for Concern, a new installation by visual artist Jessica El Mal; Trauma Then, Trauma Now by Youcef Hadjazi at the Royal Standard; the premiere of Blue Spaces by music collective هيHeya; the return of the ARTISTS | IDEAS | NOWseries of talks, as well as a new film programme running throughout the festival.
Key projects later in the festival include an ambitious new LAAF commission, 22, which will bring together 22 Arab artists, activists and creatives from across the MENA region nations to create an artistic anthology in response to the climate emergency. Threads is a new multidisciplinary performance and digital work bringing together three Arab women artists – Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings, Alia Alzougbi and Rihab Azar – as they weave together stories of migration, disability and the passage of time.
The dire impact of the climate crisis is already being disproportionately felt in the MENA region, an area which has faced unprecedented climatic events in recent years. Scorching temperatures, rising sea levels and dwindling natural resources increasingly threaten a region already confronting the continuing realities of conflict and colonialism. From performance to visual art, LAAF 2021 will provide a platform to express the lived experiences of those often excluded from climate conversations, while addressing interconnected issues such as imperialism, climate justice and capitalism.
Jack Welsh, Festival Programme Manager, said:“Across four months, our programme will engage, inform and creatively reimagine our future direction with respect to the climate emergency. Artists and performers from across the Arab world will ask what the international community can learn from those who are already stepping up to respond to the crisis on their doorstep? How can we establish a collective approach to dealing with this enormous challenge?”
Founded in 1998, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival takes place each year in leading arts and cultural venues across Liverpool. This year’s programme will include a mix of physical and online events, continuing LAAF’s mission to celebrate the best in Arab arts and culture, while connecting physical audiences in Liverpool with digital audiences around the world.
In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 festival is for the first time expanding from its usual two-week period to a longer festival, spanning almost four months from July to November. Further events for autumn will be announced later this summer.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival stood firm in our solidarity with protestors and those fighting against racism, anti-blackness, white supremacy, and state violence against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rodney King and all those who have been attacked and murdered before and since.
Alongside calling for justice abroad, we reiterate our commitment to do everything within our power to ensure racial justice and equality within our own communities and workplaces as well.
Our remit is to bring the best of traditional and contemporary Arab arts and culture to diverse audiences here in the UK and internationally. We are proud to collaborate with a diverse range of artists through our work, which includes black artists who are from or have heritage in the Middle East and North Africa, who face discrimination at home and abroad.
We asked how we could build upon the work we do to actively fight racism and anti-blackness in the UK, the Arab world, and anywhere our work reaches. As we approach the one year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, we’re looking back at the work we have done over the past twelve months:
In 2021, LAAF along with five other arts and culture organisations within the Liverpool City Region are taking part in Generations for Change, a commitment to the diversification of our workplaces. Generations for Change is an exciting, paid, development and training opportunity for young people from Black, Asian and other diverse backgrounds. The project will train, equip and upskill young people from across the Liverpool City Region to deliver a series of creative action research projects, focusing on the key issues and inequalities faced by Black, Asian and other diverse ethnic groups in our local area.
This forms part of the review we are continually undertaking on our recruitment practices. Whether this entails reviewing job descriptions and roles to improve accessibility, or accepting remote working and removing geographical boundaries wherever possible.
Education and Community Participation
As an arts organisation, we have a long and rich history rooted in diversity, with an aim to raise the visibility of Arab art and culture, lending a voice to those who often go unheard. We always want to be able to offer insight and expertise from those we have long standing relationships with, in working with accessibility when it comes to culture and race. We’re currently in the process of recruiting a Cultural Education Producer, who will work to increase opportunities and accessibility for underrepresented groups, working within schools and our communities.
In 2020, LAAF took place in an exclusively digital format – this allowed us to amplify the voices of those who may otherwise go unheard, and to reach new corners – spreading the word of visibility and our commitment to equality. By continuing to work with local communities, we are able to examine any accessibility barriers to work, and strive to remove them. Our work on a grassroots level and within local partnerships allows us to see the role of LAAF as one to be informed, and one to inform.
Working closely with the COoL Collective, of which LAAF is a member, we participated in Black History Month with our project Yemen in Conflict. We have worked collectively with partner organisations to increase our own awareness of race issues, as well as to identify where change is needed and take steps to apply it. LAAF are co-signatories of the joint statement on race equality action put forward by COoL – read here
LAAF staff and board members developed a reading list based around racial justice, consisting of articles that we have found interesting both in articulating our own experiences as well as helping us learn and further our understanding. This will continue to expand over the coming months:
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture invite you to an evening of wide-ranging discussion and performance, celebrating Yemeni and diasporic Yemeni arts and cultural heritage.
We set the historical and political context of the conflict in order to better understand the living heritage of Yemen, the threats as well as prospects for the future. In Yemen itself, a new generation are defining the narrative, through the medium of art and culture, as well as providing much-needed opportunities to build livelihoods and create jobs. We highlight British-Yemeni artists who are weaving their own stories, through new mediums, raising awareness of the conflict and their experiences in the UK. We also hear from cultural institutes about international efforts to preserve Yemeni tangible and intangible heritage. Expect traditional music and a spoken word performance to end the evening!
This event is a precursor to an online festival that MKIAC is hosting on the 24th of July 2021 which will feature Yemeni performers and seeks to build public awareness of the situation in Yemen and raise funds for charity.
Join us from 16 July – 14 November 2021 for the 23rd Liverpool Arab Arts Festival – an artist-led response to the complexities of the climate emergency in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region today.
The climate emergency is the greatest threat to our planet. Its dire impact is already being disproportionately felt in the MENA region, an area which has faced unprecedented climatic events in recent years. Scorching temperatures, rising sea levels and dwindling natural resources increasingly threaten a region already confronting the continuing realities of conflict and colonialism.
This year’s festival presents a multidisciplinary range of artist-led responses to the climate emergency. From performance to visual art, the festival provides a platform to express the lived experiences of those often excluded from climate conversations, while addressing interconnected issues such as imperialism, climate justice and capitalism.
Across four months, our programme will engage, inform, question, and creatively reimagine our future direction. It asks: what can we learn from those already stepping up to respond? How can we do more? How do we collectively deal with the challenges that communities are already experiencing?
In response to the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, the festival will – for the first time – run until November 2021. It will continue LAAF’s mission to celebrate the best in Arab arts and culture, connecting physical audiences in Liverpool with audiences around the world online.
Further information on festival events and participating artists and performers will be released across our social media and website in the coming weeks!
As part of the Yemen in Conflict project, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival (LAAF) in partnership with Writing on the Wall brought together four Yemeni female poets, from the UK and Yemen, to explore the conflict through a female poet lens.
Yemeni Female Poetry Book – Read the poems performed here
Yemen in Conflict is an ongoing project between LAAF, the University of Liverpool and the University of Leeds. The project has involved people who are passionate about Yemen, its poetry and spoken word. Through several workshops that took place throughout the UK and Yemeni community, a series of commissioned poem films and a documentary film, the project was designed to inform people globally about Yemen and its conflict through poetry and art.
At this digital event, the four poets had an opportunity to share their poetry and experiences and to listen to each other in front of a live audience.
Each of the four poets read two of her favourite poems that she has created about the conflict in Yemen. The event will be moderated by a Yemeni female in the UK so that she can direct questions from the audience to the relevant poet either in Yemen or the UK. At the end of the event there will be a Q&A session.
Amerah Saleh is a spoken word artist born and bred from Birmingham. Her Muslim Yemeni roots give her space to get lost and found on multiple occasions between identity. She is the Co-Founder of Verve Poetry Press and a General Manager at Beatfreeks. Amerah has performed all around Europe and has released her first collection called “I Am Not From Here” in April 2018. Her work touches on identity, womanhood, religion and the obscure idea of belonging only to one place
Amina Atiq is a Yemeni-scouse published poet, award-winning community activist and performance artist. A BBC Words First 2019 Finalist and Young Associate for Curious Minds. Poet in Residence for Queensland Poetry Festival 2020-21 and Metal Southend. She is currently writing her solo show, Broken Biscuits to explore her grandmothers 1970s Yemeni-British household. In 2020, she produced a short documentary, Unheard Voices, commissioned by DadaFest capturing the stories of Yemeni shopkeepers in Liverpool. Unheard Voices was later broadcasted on Belgees TV and translated in Arabic.She is working on a new online and print project, Scouse Pilgrimage commissioned by Unity Theatre. Upcoming publications found at Sutton Manor, Speaking Volumes and Cordite Poetry Review.
Maliha Al-Asaadi is a poet and writer in Sana’a, Yemen. She is the Executive Director of the Wujoh Foundation, a not for profit organisation working for peace in Yemen. She is also President of the Salam Foundation for Humanitarian Response and Development. Her publications include: “A woman’s identity” (2006), “Windows of silence” (2009) and “So the clouds told me” (2020).
Maysoon Aleryani is an award-winning poet and journalist from Yemen. She was born in Sana’a. Her publications include “Tricks” (2016), “The Mysterious side of paradise” (2013), “Madad” (2010), “I’ll Penetrate the Sky” (2009). Her awards include “Tulliola- Renato Filippelli” Poetry prize, Italy (2021), “Al-Maqaleh prize for Arabic literature – poetry” (2013). She holds the title of poetry in the Arab World (2010) through a referendum by Poets without borders league and the “President’s Prize for Young Poets” (2009)
Nawal Al-Maghafi is an award-winning BBC Special Correspondent. She has been reporting on the Middle East since 2012. Over the past six years, she has been one of the few journalists conducting firsthand reporting of the ongoing conflict in Yemen; travelling extensively throughout the country.
الشعر النسوي اليمني:
الأربعاء 19 مايو 2021 (3 – 4:30 بعد الظهر بتوقيت المملكة المتحدة، 5 – 6:30 بتوقيت اليمن)
المتابعة عبرالانترنت (زوم)
ضمن مشروع “الصراع في اليمن” يقدم مهرجان ليفربول للفنون والثقافة العربية أربع شاعرات يمنيات من المملكة المتحدة واليمن لاستطلاع الصراع بعيون نسوية.
يعتبر مشروع “الصراع في اليمن” مشروعاً مستمراً بين مهرجان ليفربول للفنون والثقافة العربية وكل من جامعتي ليدز وليفربول. عمل المشروع على إشراك العديد من المهتمين باليمن، الشعر اليمني والكلمة المحكية. قام المشروع بالتعريف باليمن والصراع الدائر فيه على مستوى العالم من خلال الشعر والفن، وأقام عدداً من ورشات العمل في جميع أرجاء المملكة المتحدة ومع الجالية اليمنية، بالإضافة الى سلسلة من الأفلام الشعرية وفيلماً وثائقياً.
سيتاح للشاعرات الأربع فرصة مشاركة اشعارهن وتجاربهن، والاستماع لبعضهن البعض أمام الجمهور مباشرة.
ستقوم كل شاعرة بقراءة قصيدتين من قصائدها المفضلة التي كتبتها حول الصراع في اليمن. ستدار الفعالية من قبل سيدة يمنية مقيمة في المملكة المتحدة وذلك لتوجيه الأسئلة من الجمهور الى الشاعرات سواء في اليمن أو في المملكة المتحدة. وستعقد جلسة أسئلة وأجوبة في نهاية الفعالية.
نبذة عن الشاعرات المشاركات:
أميرة صالح: فنانة في الكلمة المحكية، ولدت وترعرعت في بيرمنغهام. منحتها جذورها اليمنية والأسلامية مساحة للفقد والعثورعلى الهوية مرات متعددة. شاركت في تأسيس “فيرف بوتري بريس”، كما تشغل منصب مديرعام في “بيتفريكس”. جالت أميرة بشعرها في كافة أرجاء أوروبا، كما نشرت مجموعتها الأولى “أنا لست من هنا” إبريل 2018. يتطرق شعر أميرة الى قضايا الهوية، الأنوثة، الدين، وضبابية الانتماء إلى مكان واحد.
آمنة عتيق: شاعرة يمنية من ليفربول، تكتب أشعارها بلهجة مدينة ليفربول. حاصلة على جوائز كناشطة اجتماعية وفنانة استعراضية. آمنة وصلت الى المراكز النهائية في (BBC, Words First ) وهي مساعدة شابه (Young Associate) لمنظمةCurious Minds
كما أنها شاعرة مقيمة لمهرجان (Queensland Poetry) للأعوام 2020 -2021 ومهرجان (Metal Southend). تقوم آمنة بكتابة عرضها الانفرادي Broken Biscuits لاستطلاع أوضاع الجدات اليمنيات في العائلات البريطانية اليمنية في أعوام السبعينيات. في عام 2020 أنتجت آمنة وثائقياً قصيراً بعنوان “أصوات غير مسموعة” بتكليف من منظمة (DadaFest) نقلت فيه قصص أصحاب المحال اليمنيين في ليفربول، وقد تم عرضه لاحقاً في تلفزيون “بلقيس”، وترجم إلى اللغة العربية.
تعمل آمنة حالياً على مشروع مطبوع وعبرالانترنت بعنوان ” Scouse Pilgrimage” بتكليف من (Unity Theatre). يمكنكم متابعة إصداراتها القادمة في المجلات التالية:Sutton Manor, Speaking VolumesوCordite Poetry Review.
مليحة الأسعدي: شاعرة وكاتبة مقيمة في صنعاء، اليمن. تشغل مليحة منصب المدير التنفيذي لمؤسسة وجوه، وهي مؤسسة غير ربحية تعمل من أجل السلام في اليمن. كما ترأس مؤسسة السلام للتطوير والاستجابة الإنسانية. من إصداراتها: هوية امرأة (2006)، “نوافذ الصمت” (2009)، و”هكذا حدثني الغيم” (2020)
ميسون الإرياني: شاعرة وصحفية من اليمن حاصلة على عدد من الجوائز. ولدت في صنعاء. من إصداراتها: “حِيَل” (2016)، “الموارب من الجنة” (2013)، “مدد” (2010)، “سأثقب بالعاشقين السماء” (2009). من الجوائز التي حصلت عليها: جائزة الشعر توليولا ريناتو فيلبي الإيطالية للشعر العالمي (2021(، جائزة المقالحللأدب العربي في مجال الشعر (2013). تحمل لقب “شاعر العام” عبر التصويت من قبل رابطة شعراء بلا حدود (2010)، وجائزة رئيس الجمهورية للشعراء الشباب، اليمن (2009).
نوال المقحفي: مراسلة خاصة في هيئة الإذاعة البريطانية (بي بي سي)، وحائزة على عدد من الجوائز. محررة في قسم أخبار الشرق الأوسط منذ العام 2012. هي واحدة من الصحفيين القلائل الذين قاموا بنقل تقارير صحفية مباشرة من أرض الصراع الدائر في اليمن، وتنقلت بشكل مكثف في أرجاء البلاد.
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival is pleased to present this event in partnership with Writing on the Wall and Comma Press.
Storytelling is a powerful mechanism in putting us in other people’s shoes. The work of Hassan Blasim and Comma Press’ Refugee Tales anthologies create spaces in which the stories of those who have been detained can be safely heard, where listening becomes an act of welcome. From chess-playing people-traffickers and murdereous storytellers to student protestors and Afghan farmers, join WoWFest as we hear from award-winning Iraqi writer Hassan Blasim and Sunday Times bestselling author Christy Lefteri in conversation with Ted Hodgkinson.
Hassan Blasim is an Iraqi-born filmmaker and writer. Blasim settled in Finland in 2004 after years of travelling through Europe as a refugee. His debut collection The Madman of Freedom Square was published by Comma in 2009 (translated by Jonathan Wright) and was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2010. His second collection, The Iraqi Christ, won the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the first Arabic title and the first short story collection ever to win the award. His debut novel, God 99, was published by Comma Press in 2020. Hassan’s work has been translated into over 20 languages.
Christy Lefteri was born in London in 1980 to Greek Cypriot parents who moved to London in 1974 during the Turkish invasion. Contributor to Comma Press’ Refugee Tales Volume 4, and author of the Sunday Times bestseller The Beekeeper of Aleppo, a moving and powerful story born out of her time working as a volunteer at a Unicef supported refugee centre in Athens. She completed a degree in English and a Masters in creative writing at Brunel University. She taught English to foreign students and then became a secondary school teacher before leaving to pursue a PhD and to write. She is also studying to become a psychotherapist.
Chaired by Ted Hodgkinson, broadcaster, editor, critic, writer and Head of Literature and Spoken Word at Southbank Centre. Formerly online editor at Granta magazine, his essays, interviews and reviews have appeared across a range of publications and websites, including the Times Literary Supplement, the Literary Review, the New Statesman, the Spectator, the Literary Hub and the Independent. He is a former British Council literature programmer for the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. He sat on the selection panel for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Fellowship, the EBRD Literature Prize 2019 for the best novel in translation and the 2019 Orwell Prize for political writing and has judged a number of other awards. In 2018, for a second consecutive year, he was named in The Bookseller’s list of the 100 most influential people in publishing. In 2020, he was made a Trustee of English PEN.