Join multiple award-winning internationally acclaimed writers Mourid Barghouti and Marcello Di Cintio for a moving and insightful discussion on exile, displacement, belonging and political turmoil. A truly one-of-a-kind event featuring a voice of a generation.
In 1966, the Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti, then twenty-two, left his country to return to university in Cairo. A year later came the Six Day War and Barghouti, like many Palestinians living abroad, was denied entry into his homeland. Thirty years later, he was finally allowed to visit Ramallah, the city he had grown up in. A rickety wooden bridge over a dried-up river connects the West Bank to Jordan. It is the very same bridge Barghouti had crossed, little knowing that he would not be able to return. I Saw Ramallah, his extraordinarily beautiful account of homecoming, begins at this crossing, filled with its ironies and heartaches. In half bemusement, half joy, Barghouti journeys through Ramallah, keenly aware that the city he had left barely resembles the present-day city scarred by the Occupation – and he discovers in this displacement that the events of 1967 have made him permanently homeless.
Canadian author Marcello Di Cintio begins his new book, Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense, by following Barghouti’s footsteps across that same bridge. From Ramallah, Di Cintio travels across Palestine to hear the stories of writers, poets, librarians, booksellers and readers. His book offers a window into the literary heritage of Palestine that transcends the narrow language of conflict. Di Cintio’s previous book, Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, explored what it means to live in the shadows of walls, fences and other fortified borders. Walls won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the Wilfred Eggleston Prize for Non-Fiction.