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    You are here: Home / 05.10.2008 - Worldwide Reading in Memory of Mahmoud Darwish

    05.10.2008 - Worldwide Reading in Memory of Mahmoud Darwish

    The international literature festival berlin (ilb) is appealing for a worldwide reading of Mahmoud Darwish's poetry on 5 October 2008. The activities accompanying this event are designed not only to honour the poet's body of work but also his commitment to promoting peaceful and fair coexistence between Arabs and Israelis. This appeal is directed at cultural institutions, radio stations, schools, universities, theatres and all other Darwish enthusiasts the world over.

    Mahmoud Darwish was one of the best-loved Arab lyricists of modern times and counts among the most eminent poets in the history of world literature. Thousands flocked to hear his readings, and his volumes of poetry have been published in the hundreds and thousands. Numerous pieces have been translated into more than 30 different languages. His poems have been transformed into folksongs and many of his verses have taken on the character of proverbs.

    Darwish's poetry draws inspiration from the tradition of ancient Arab poetry and Modernist influences and borrows from the style and language of both the Qur'an and the Bible. Few other poets have displayed such dedication to articulating a vision of a meaningful, real and fair peace between Arabs and Israelis, which furthers a dialogue between two voices and two different outlooks on life, while ensuring that one does not impose its view upon the other.

    In the tradition of ancient Arab poetry, the poet assumes the role of spokesperson for his people. And despite Darwish's move away from this role since the 1990s, many readers still viewed him as Palestine's literary ambassador to the last.

    Mahmoud Darwish was born in 1941 in the village of Al-Birweh near Acre. In 1948, he fled to Lebanon and returned after the foundation of the state of Israel. He worked as an editor for various political and cultural journals in Haifa. After being imprisoned on numerous occasions, he left Israel in 1970 and went into exile. He has lived in Moscow, Cairo, Beirut, Paris and, most recently, in Amman and Ramallah. In 1987, he was elected to the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and helped draft the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988. He left the organization in 1993 in protest against the signing of the Oslo Accords. He received numerous awards, including the Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom in
    2001 and the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize in 2003.
    Darwish died on 9 August 2008 following heart surgery. He was buried in the West Bank city of Ramallah and granted a state funeral.

    To sign up for the reading please contact: worldwidereading@literaturfestival.com

    | Algeria Algerian Writers’ Association | Australia Cultural Media in association with the NSW Writers’ Centre, Sydney
    | Austria Public Library at the Urban-Loritz-Platz, Vienna; FREIRAD 105.9 – Freies Radio Innsbruck; Freies Radio       
    Salzkammergut, Bad Ischl | Bangladesh Liberation War Museum, Dhaka; Gallery Chitrak, Dhaka | Belgium Centre     Culturel Arabe; Brussels | Bosnia and Herzegovina Centre André Malraux, Sarajevo | Canada Trois Rivières Poetry        
    Festival, Trois Rivières | China Hong Kong | Egypt Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria; Pen Temple Pilots, Cairo;      
    Gudran Association for Art and Development, Cairo; Hotel Regina Resort, Hurghada | France Les Ecritures Croisées       
    et La Cité du Livre, Aix-en-Provence; Les Cahiers de Colette, Paris; Reid Hall, Paris | Germany international literature
    festival berlin, Berlin; Erich-Maria-Remarque-Peace Centre and Erich-Maria-Remarque-Association and the Office for     
    Peace Culture, Osnabrück; Ravensburg; LiSa Frauenladen, Stralsund; WDR 5, Cologne; DW Radio – Arabic Section,       Bonn; Deutschlandradio Kultur, Berlin | Hungary Parnasszus poetry journal headquarter, Budapest | India Gallerie       
    PEN-Jnanaprabha, Mumbai; Kovalam Literary Festival, Trivandrum; Victoria Jubilee Town Hall, Trivandrum | Indonesia    Ubud Writers Festival, Denpasar | Italy Festival Internazionale, Ferrara; Festival Internazionale di Poesia di Genova,
    Genoa; Le Guadalupe – Lo Spazio per le Arti, Volterra | Kenya Kisumu Festival, Kisumu; Kenyatta International          
    Conference Centre, Nairobi; Dandora Estate, Nairobi | Kuwait The Writers Association in Kuwait, Kuwait | Lebanon       
    Lebanese Writers Association, Beirut | Lithuania Druskininkai Poetic Fall 2008, Vilnius | Macedonia National           
    and University Library “St Kliment Ohridski”, Skopje | Mexico Congreso Mundial de Poetas, Acapulco; Instituto          
    Internacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, Mexico City | Morocco Mohammed’s V University at Agdal, Rabat | Nigeria    
    University of Ibadan, Ibadan | Norway Ordkalotten Tromsø International Literature Festival, Tromsø | Palestine         
    Cultural Centre of the Qattan Foundation, Ramallah; Palestinian Writers Association, Ramallah | Puerto Rico PENO Puerto Rico, San Juan | Russia Reading Room of the Goethe Institute, Kazan | Senegal Goethe Institute, Dakar; Gorée Institute, Gorée | South Africa University of Cape Town, Cape Town; Centre for Creative Arts and Poetry Africa, Durban;
    Breytenbach Cultural Centre, Wellington | Spain León, Asociación Colegial de Escritores de España, León; Casa Árabe –  
    IEAM, Madrid | Sudan The Sudanese Studies Center, Khartoum | Switzerland Das Kleine Literaturhaus, Basel | Syria     Syrian Writers Association, Damascus | Taiwan World Congress of Poets, Taipei | USA The University of Tennessee,       
    Chattanooga; The Bowery Poetry Club, New York; Sacramento Poetry Center, Sacramento; Bird & Beckett Books, San    Francisco; PoetsWest, Seattle; Hugo House, Seattle; Trinity United Methodist Church, Seattle | Zimbabwe Book Café,     
    Harare