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"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno

The Bookseller MAY 1, 2014 - by Caroline Carpenter

SYRIAN WRITERS TO TOUR UK

Leading Syrian writers and artists will tour Britain in June to launch Syria Speaks, an anthology of art and culture from the Syrian frontline, published by Saqi Books.

The line-up will include 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, aim to demonstrate how Syria's artists are leading the country's resistance against tyranny. 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 and the Arab British Centre. Syria Speaks showcases the work of over fifty Syrian artists and writers since the uprising.

It has already won an English PEN award for promotion and received advance praise from A. L. Kennedy and Brian Eno, who described it as "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, said: "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 fifty artists' and writers' aspirations, dreams and pain". She added that the tour "will highlight the role of culture in times of conflict".

Syria Speaks, which is subtitled Art and Culture from the Frontline, is edited by Malu Halasa, Zaher Omareen and Nawara Mahfoud and will be published on June 16, 2014 at £12.99.


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