Wednesday, April 29, 2009

some hay festival events and beirut39 project

a few events culled from the Hay Festival programme:

Saturday 23rd May

Samir El-Youssef and Brian Chikwava
chaired by Georgina Godwin
Story: Migrations
Caine Prize-winner Chikwava’s Harare North
is an original and brilliant tale of illegal
immigration into London.
El-Youssef ’s The Illusion of Return
displaces his Palestinian characters
to America and to London.

Sunday 24th May

Hala Jaber, Zena el Khalil and
Conor Foley talk to Adam Boulton
Tabletalk: Risk
The authors of The Flying Carpet to Baghdad,
Beirut I Love You and The Thin Blue Line: How
Humanitarianism Went to War discuss
extremity, intervention and survival.

5.30 pm, DREAM STAGE
Colm Tóibín and Rawi Hage talk to
Stephanie Merritt
Story: Migrations
Tóibín’s Brooklyn is a beautifully rendered
story of an Irish woman venturing migration
to the New World in the 50s. Lebanese
novelist Hage takes his protagonist from his
childhood in a war-torn Arab country, to his
current life in the smoky émigré cafes of his
new city in Cockroach.

Monday 25th May

Alaa Al Aswany and Amit Chaudhuri talk
to Clemency Burton-Hill
Story: Perspectives
The author of The Yacoubian Building Al
Aswany offers a fresh portrait of Cairo in ten
stories collected as Friendly Fire. The Immortals
by Chaudhuri tells three musicians stories to
explore the relationship between art, money
and commerce.

Saturday 30th May

Reza Aslan talks to Sarfraz Manzoor
How to Win a Cosmic War
‘Why do they hate us?’ And who exactly are
They? Al-Qaeda? Islamic nationalists? The whole
Muslim world? The writer and scholar lays out a
comprehensive definition of the movement
behind and surrounding al-Qaeda and the like, a
global ideology properly termed Jihadism.

Kamila Shamsie and Reif Larsen
talk to Claire Armitstead
Story: Maps
Shamsie’s epic Burnt Shadows
weaves history through Nagasaki,
Pakistan, Guantanamo Bay and
Afghanistan. Larsen’s The Selected
Works of TS Spivet sends his 12-
year-old genius map-maker on a
journey across America in a debut
full of wonders.

2.30PM OXFAM STUDIO Monica Ali talks to Sarfraz Manzoor
In the Kitchen
The new novel from the author of Brick Lane
opens with a mysterious death in the cellars of
a smart, cosmopolitan hotel and then peels
back the layers of polyglot London to reveal
the melting pot that exists below.

Sunday 31st May

Mahmood Mamdani
Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics
and the War on Terror
The Ugandan-born scholar weighs the claims
of counter-insurgency and genocide and
examines the reporting and understanding of
the Sudanese conflicts.

The festival website has a page on the beirut39 project, a joint venture of the festival and Beirut World Capital of the Book 2009, with a downloadable press release:
press release:
Beirut 39
To celebrate Beirut Unesco World Book Capital 2009 the Hay Festival has created Beirut39, a
project to select and celebrate 39 of the best Arab writers under the age of 39. Beirut 39 will be
the flagship project of Beirut Unesco World Book Capital 2009.
A panel of four fellow writers will choose the final 39 from a long list selected by publishers and
literary critics from across the Arab world. Members of the public will be able to have their say by nominating writers at libraries and through a dedicated website,

The judges, chosen for the literary authority and respect they command, are the Egyptian writer Alaa Al Aswany, Lebanese poet and cultural editor in chief of Al-Hayat newspaper Abdo
Wazen, Lebanese writer Alawiya Sobh and from Oman Saif Al Rahbi, poet and chief
editor of the cultural magazine Nizwa. The judges will study each nominee’s body of work,
however large or small, and will look for development potential.

The final 39 names will be unveiled in Beirut in September 2009, and the Beirut39 Festival will
run from 4–7 March 2010. Over four days the selected writers will participate in events held in
venues across the city – in libraries, universities, schools and other public spaces. There will be
approximately 50 sessions on topics ranging from the nature of writing and the state of
contemporary Arabic literature to influences and inspirations for writing. The writers will also
read from their work.

The legacy of Beirut39 will be to increase the access to, and reach of, contemporary Arabic
literature through the publication of an anthology of short stories by the selected writers. This will be available in Arabic, English and Spanish, and will be promoted internationally.

Beirut39 follows on from the extremely successful Bogotá39 which the Hay Festival ran to
celebrate Bogotá’s status as World Book Capital in 2007. Thirty-nine Latin American writers were picked from over 250 entrants and took part in four days of events in Bogotá, Colombia. They have since spoken at Hay Festivals in Hay-on-Wye in Wales, Segovia and Granada in Spain, and Cartagena de Indias in Colombia.
The Hay Festival of Literature & the Arts has been promoting literature, debate,
comedy, world music and more for 22 years, and attracts over 100,000 visitors annually. Hay
Festival is a global institution with festivals and projects in Spain, Colombia and Kenya, and sister festivals in Italy and Brazil.
The Drill Hall, 25 Lion Street, Hay on Wye, HR3 5AD
T: +44 (0)7722 065 095 F: +44 (0)1497 821 066
Notes to Editors
For further information please contact:
UK Hannah Lort-Phillips
Hay Festival Press Officer
+44 (0)7771 997 954

Lebanon Joelle Abou Farhat Rizkallah
961 1 373 673/873

In order to qualify for consideration as a Beirut39 nominee, entrants must be Arab writers, writing
in Arabic or any other language, born in 1970 or after, and have at least one book published
(fiction or poetry).
Current partners of Beirut39 include Beirut UNESCO World Capital of the Book
Committee, Banipal, The British Council, Lebanon and Metaform X.
The project director is Cristina Fuentes La Roche:
The project is coordinated by Farah Farouk:

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