Leading Syrian artists will tour Britain in June to launch Syria Speaks, an anthology of art and culture from the Syrian frontline.
The line-up will include award-winning Damascus-based novelist Khaled Khalifa, cinematographer and video artist Khalil Younes, writer and film maker Zaher Omareen, and authors Malu Halasa and Robin Yassin-Kassab.
The evenings of readings, music and film begin at Rich Mix in London, then tour to Bristol, Oxford, Liverpool, Bradford and Durham. The artists will also run workshops in conjunction with English PEN at schools, Refugee Rights centres and a prison.
The book and tour, organised by Reel Festivals, aims to demonstrate how Syria’s artists are leading the country’s resistance against tyranny. Syria Speaks is the first book to provide a window on Syrian creativity since the uprising, showcasing the work of over 50 artists and writers. It has already received advance praise from A.L. Kennedy and Brian Eno, who believes the book is an ‘extraordinary collection [which] says more about Syria than many months of newspaper reading has told me. It’s a profound look into a dynamic and exciting culture in painful transition – a culture where artists are really stepping up to the plate and making a difference.’
Lynn Gaspard, Publisher, explained: ‘In Syria, courageous individuals continue to make a stand against tyranny and to create and disseminate their art and words. Syria Speaks is a unique, inspiring and devastating work, capturing over 50 artists’ and writers’ aspirations, dreams and pain. I feel very privileged and am incredibly proud to be publishing this book and to be involved in the tour, which will highlight the role of culture in times of conflict. I am very grateful to the various organisations that are supporting the UK tour. The book’s editors are also to be commended for their courage and vision, and for their determination to publish this book – it is no easy feat assembling over 35 pieces from a war-torn country.’
With English PEN, Syria Speaks will also conduct workshops at Elizabeth Garret Anderson School, London; Bristol Refugee Rights, Bristol; Asylum Welcome, Oxford; Wigan Pier Workshops, Wigan; and HM Prison Low Newton, Durham.
Organised by Reel Festivals, the tour is supported by the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development; CKU, the Danish Centre for Culture and Development; English PEN Promotes!; Arts Council England; the Arab British Centre; and Reel Festivals.
Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline, edited by Malu Halasa, Zaher Omareen and Nawara Mahfoud, is published 16 June 2014, price £12.99.
Press contact Ruth Killick: firstname.lastname@example.org, 07880 703741