Lancaster Litfest - The Book of Ramallah

16 Mar 2021 - 7.30PM

How to watch: Online via Crowdcast

Tickets: FREE, bookable in advance via litfest.org (donations welcome)

Unlike most other Palestinian cities, Ramallah is a relatively new town, a de facto capital of the West Bank allowed to thrive after the Oslo Peace Accords, but just as quickly hemmed in and suffocated by the Occupation as the Accords have failed. Perched along the top of a mountainous ridge, it plays host to many contradictions: traditional Palestinian architecture jostling against aspirational developments and cultural initiatives, a thriving nightlife in one district, with much more conservative, religious attitudes in the next. Most striking however – as the stories in The Book of Ramallah show – is the quiet dignity, resilience and humour of its people; citizens who take their lives into their hands every time they travel from one place to the next, who continue to live through countless sieges, and yet still find the time, and resourcefulness, to create.

The editor of The Book of Ramallah, Maya Abu Al-Hayat, and contributing author Ameer Hamad, will be in conversation with Lindsey Moore, Reader in Postcolonial Literature at Lancaster University.

About the Panellists

Maya Abu Al-Hayat is a Beirut-born Palestinian novelist and poet living in Jerusalem, but working in Ramallah. She has published two poetry books, numerous children’s stories and three novels, including her latest No One Knows His Blood Type (Dar Al-Adab, 2013). She is the director of the Palestine Writing Workshop, an institution that seeks to encourage reading in Palestinian communities through creative writing projects and storytelling with children and teachers. She contributed to, and wrote a forward for A Bird is Not a Stone: An Anthology of Contemporary Palestinian Poetry, and is the editor of Comma's forthcoming Book of Ramallah.

Ameer Hamad (born in Jerusalem in 1992) is a poet, short story writer and translator, who has published his work in numerous magazines and websites, including Beirut Literature Magazine and the New Arab website. He graduated from Birzeit University, with a major in Computer Science. In 2019, He was awarded Al-Qattan prize in two categories for his first two collections: Gigi and Ali's Rabbit, a collection of short stories, and I Searched for Their Keys in the Locks, a collection of poetry. Both will be published soon.