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Jebel Marra - Foreign aid and corruption in Darfur

Tuesday 12th May


When war breaks out a swarm of aid industries quickly descend on the conflict like a second wave of invaders. Never more so than in 2004 when Darfur, in western Sudan, erupted into civil war. Join us for an evening with author Michelle Green and aid specialist Róisín Read.

When war breaks out, a swarm of other industries quickly surround the battlefield; aid agencies, NGOs, international media corporations, mercenaries and private investors… all descend on the conflict like a second wave of invaders. Never was this more so than in 2004 when Darfur, in western Sudan, erupted into civil war. Accusations of government-sponsored ethnic cleansing and what the UN described as ‘the world’s worst humanitarian crisis’ combined to put this previously unheard-of region under the world’s spotlight. Yet, for all the influx of foreign agencies and outside interest, very little was (and still is) known about the causes of this conflict. Here, Michelle Green – a former aid worker in Darfur – re-tells the story of the war from 15 different perspectives, capturing by turns the brutal indifference of the government war machine, the terrible scars inflicted on individuals caught in its path, and the complex melting pot of experiences that constitutes any relief effort. Though fictional, these stories reach beyond the myths so often used to simplify this crisis and offer moving, first-hand insights into a tragedy that, like so many others, disappeared from our headlines all too quickly.

Michelle Green is an acclaimed poet turned short-story writer, and a well-loved figure on the Manchester spoken-word scene. In 2005, she won the North West Regional Poetry Slam, and has since performed across the UK, both solo and in collaboration with musicians and visual artists, at festivals such as the Big Chill, as well as on BBC Radio 4. She has published her poems and short stories in numerous magazines and anthologies (including Bitch Lit and City Secrets), and her first collection of poetry - Knee High Affairs - was published by Crocus in 2006. Jebel Marra is her first collection of fiction and is based on her own experience as an aid worker in Darfur.


Róisín Read's research explores international interventions in conflict with a special focus on Sudan. She currently coordinates that ESRC-funded Making Peacekeeping Data Work for the International Community project at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, looking at the use and production of UN peacekeeping data in Darfur. Prior to that, she completed her PhD in the Institute for Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester focusing on NGOs in South Sudan. Róisín is particularly interested in exploring practices of storytelling and knowledge production in post-conflict environments and their political effects.

6pm, News From Nowhere, 96 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4HY

Tickets: £4/£2 Pay on door

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Writing on the Wall believe in creativity, community, diversity, artistic excellence and social and economic justice. We are Liverpool’s longest-running writing and literary organisation and festival. We celebrate and inspire creativity and writing in all its forms through inquiry, debate, performance and publishing. Our annual WoWFest brings together local audiences with the best local, national and international writers, artists and social commentators.