Join Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and Comma Press for a journey to Ramallah, as we reflect on the latest title in Comma’s series on ‘Reading the City’.
Edited by Beirut-born, Palestinian novelist, Maya Abu Al-Hayat, who lives in Jerusalem and works in Ramallah, this anthology explores the city in all its countless contradictions. The Book of Ramallah features stories from ten established and emerging Palestinian writers, including Anas Abu Rahma, Liana Badr, Khaled Hourani and Ahmad Jaber.
Ramallah is the cultural, commercial and governmental hub of the West Bank and the stories explore its defiance in resistance against the occupying forces, alongside its frustration and division by its secrets and conservatism. Characters fall in love, have affairs, poke fun at the heavy military presence, but also see their aspirations cut short, their lives eaten into, their morale beaten down by the daily humiliations of the conflict. Through humour, and precious moments of intimacy, however, we glimpse life inside this city of refuge; an image of hope abiding even under the eye of a merciless occupation.
The conversation event will discuss the book and the city, with readings from writers Ameer Hamad and Ibrahim Nasrallah, alongside editor Maya Abu Al-Hayat.
Ibrahim Nasrallah was born in 1954 to Palestinian parents who were evicted from their land in Palestine in 1948. He spent his childhood and youth in a refugee camp in Jordan, and began his career as a teacher in Saudi Arabia. After returning to Amman, he worked in the media and cultural sector until 2006. To date, he has published 15 poetry collections, 21 novels, and several other books. In 1985, he started writing the Palestinian Comedy covering 250 years of modern Palestinian history in a series of independent novels. His works have been translated into English, Italian, Danish, Turkish, and Persian. Three of his novels have been shortlisted or longlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) – sometimes referred to as the ‘Arab Booker’ – and in 2018 his novel The Second Dog War won it. In 2012 he won the inaugural Jerusalem Award for Culture and Creativity, and his novel Prairies of Fever was chosen by The Guardian one of the ten most important novels written about the Arab world.
Maya Abu Al-Hayat is a Beirut-born Palestinian novelist and poet living in Jerusalem. She has published two poetry books, numerous children’s stories and three novels, including her latest No One Knows His Blood Type (Dar Al-Adab, 2013). She is the director of the Palestine Writing Workshop, an institution that seeks to encourage reading in Palestinian communities through creative writing projects and storytelling with children and teachers. She contributed to, and wrote a forward for A Bird is Not a Stone: An Anthology of Contemporary Palestinian Poetry.
Ameer Hamad is a poet, short story writer and translator, who has published his work in numerous magazines and websites, including Beirut Literature Magazine and the New Arab website. He was born in Jerusalem in 1992, graduated from Birzeit University, with a major in Computer Science and is currently working on his first collection of short stories.
Buy the Book of Ramallah: https://commapress.co.uk/books/the-book-of-ramallah/
This event will be streamed on Liverpool Arab Arts Festival Facebook Page
You can also watch on Comma Press Facebook Page