Online events at Liverpool Arab Arts Festival

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Spoken word performer Lisa Luxx.
Spoken word performer Lisa Luxx.

13 July 2020 Entrance is free — Visit now

Founded in 1998, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival is the UK’s longest running annual festival of Arab arts and culture, and this year it takes its wares online from 9 to 18 July. Various art forms are covered (see the LAAF website for full programme details and links to Eventbrite sign-up pages), but here on the Literature Desk, we’re most interested in the panel discussion Writing The Palestinian City, in association with Comma Press, and an evening featuring spoken word artist and performer, and LAAF’s artist-in-residence for 2020, Lisa Luxx.

First up, on Saturday 11 July (9-10pm), Lisa Luxx – spotted IRL recently at Liverpool’s A Lovely Word and Manchester’s That’s What She* Said – joins forces with her friend and fellow LGBT+ poet of Arab heritage Dayna Ash for an exclusive evening entitled Grinding Saffron; a night of poetic lesbian sisterhood, when the two artists will be sharing their own poems on queerness, identity and longing, with nods to the history of Arab lesbian culture. Dayna Ash is a cultural and social activist, playwright, performance poet and the Founder & Executive Director of the non-profit arts organisation Haven For Artists based in Beirut, Lebanon, while Lisa Luxx is a Saboteur Award-winning queer writer, performer, essayist and activist of British Syrian heritage. Lisa will also be in conversation on Tuesday 14 July (6-7pm), discussing with Anahid Kassabian, Mishaal Omar and Diyan Zora the new theatre work they were due to present at this year’s festival – Eating The Copper Apple will now premiere in Liverpool at a later point.

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival is the UK’s longest running annual festival of Arab arts and culture, and this year it takes its wares online from 9 to 18 July

On Monday 13 July (6-7pm) listen in on Writing The Palestinian City, when three writers from Palestine will explore their work and stories about Gaza, Ramallah and East Jerusalem. Taking as a starting point Comma’s best-selling anthology Palestine + 100, guest authors Talal Abu Shawish, Maya Abu Al-Hayat and Mazen Maalouf will discuss the challenge of writing, in fiction as well as nonfiction, about Palestine with its added layer of friction. As the blurb explains: “Palestine is a physical place, but one with a global identity, which changes whether you are ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ … How do you decide where to set your story, how do you build a ‘nameless’ city? How does Palestine’s vast diaspora impact on this writing?” Chaired by Ra Page from Manchester’s Comma Press, we’re told you can “expect a passionate and reflective discussion exploring the fundamental partnership between identity and the written word”.

Events at LAAF 2020 are free, but donations are welcomed, going to the artists and commissioning new work for 2021.

Writing the Palestinian City at Liverpool Arab Arts Festival
Writing the Palestinian City at Liverpool Arab Arts Festival

13 July 2020 Entrance is free Visit now

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