Thursday 21st May
What do really we know of life in Gaza beyond the headlines? Two citizens of Gaza and contributors to Comma Press’s The Book of Gaza offer insights into the struggles of everyday life in a city under siege. Join us for readings and discussion about life and literature on the Strip.
The Book of Gaza offers a cross section of the three generations of authors to have emerged in the city since 1967, and together the stories present a literary map of the city. Published just before the outbreak of Operation Protective Edge, the contributors have since lived through yet another period of intense and deadly conflict.
Nayrouz Qarmout is a Palestinian writer and activist. Born in Damascus in 1984, as a Palestinian refugee, she returned to the Gaza Strip, as part of the 1994 Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement, where she now lives. She graduated from al-Azhar University in Gaza with a degree in Economics. She currently works in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, raising awareness of gender issues and promoting the political and economic role of women in policy and law, as well as the defence of women from abuse, and highlighting the role of women’s issues in the media. Her political, social and literary articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, and online. She has also written screenplays for several short films dealing with women’s rights. She is a social activist and a member of several youth initiatives, campaigning for social change in Palestine.
(Online reading) Mona Abu Sharekh’s family was originally from Ashkelon (her father being expelled from his land in 1948). She studied English Literature at Islamic University of Gaza from 2001 to 2005, then took a Masters degree in Business Administration at the same university. Her first collection of short stories, What the Madman Said, was published in 2008 by the Palestinian Writers Union, and deals with life in Gaza shortly after the second intifada (2006-2007). She has recently completed her second collection, about Palestinian women, When I Cut Off the Head of Gaza, and she is currently working on a novel about children abandoned for the shame of being born out of wedlock. She has worked as project manager for a number of Palestinian NGOs, and her writing frequently draws on her experiences of social work.
7.30pm. The Bluecoat, School Lane, L1 3BX