After a three year hiatus due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Palestine Festival of Literature (Palfest) returns with the biggest and most varied edition of the event ever put on.
PalFest 2023 will take place in cities across historic Palestine between May 20th to 25th, 2023.
The theme of this year’s festival is Palestine & the Global South and features a selection of writers and thinkers from Kashmir, South Africa, India, Chile, Nigeria, the USA and, as always, the Palestinian diaspora, to discuss the shifting dynamics of global solidarities. Some of the world’s most exciting writers on board, include Ta-Nehisi Coates, Maaza Mengiste, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Molly Crabapple and Mirza Waheed — who will be in discussion with Palestine’s most eloquent writers and thinkers, including Isabella Hammad, Budour Hassan, Ibtisam Azem, and Mohammed El-Kurd. In addition to this, the festival will be launching new books by Isabella Hammad, Vera Tamari and Ahed Tamimi. For the first time, Palfest has also announced a dedicated film program, curated by Basma Alsharif.
PalFest travels to its audiences due to divisions created by the Israeli apartheid with a huge Palestinian majority unable to access their own cities. Visiting international authors take the stage alongside their Palestinian counterparts in Ramallah, Jerusalem, Haifa, Bethlehem and Nablus for a series of conversations, book launches, film screenings and dramatic readings. All events are free and open to the public and are conducted in Arabic and English with live translation.
Alongside the public events, the visiting authors will tour historic sites, refugee camps and neighborhoods that bring them face to face with the realities of life under occupation. Over the week they will visit Nabi Saleh, al-Khalil/Hebron, al-Lydd, and the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem. Although PalFest is unable to get to Gaza because of Israel’s siege of the Strip, Palfest is working with partners in Gaza to weave their work and voices through the festival week.
The Complete List of Participants for 2023
Saliha Abeed, Marwan Ali, Asmaa Azaizeh, Ibtisam Azem, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Iyad Barghouti, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Molly Crabapple, Wafa Darwish, Eve Ewing, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Firdous Habib Allah, Qassim Haddad, Saleem Haddad, Toufic Haddad, Isabella Hammad, Budour Hassan, Yara Hawari, Ala Hlehel, Khawla Ibrahim, Ayman Ighbayriah, Tarek Imam, Adel Jubran, Mai Kaloti, Yasser Khangar, Mohammed El-Kurd, Anjali Kamat, Maaza Mengiste, Lina Meruane, Ali Mowasi, Jumana Mustafa, Mahmoud Muna, Hisham Nafaa, Ayesha Odeh, Ali Qadry, Mahdi Sabbagh, Nevine Sammara, Yara Saqfalhait, Rebecca Servadio, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Vera Tamari, Ahed Tamimi, Preti Taneja, Mirza Waheed, Raed Wahsh, Zukiswa Wanner, Lana Zreik
The full program and more details are available on the website: www.palfest.org
Since 2008, PalFest has delivered 11 annual festivals in Palestine in which some 200 writers have traveled through the landscape of occupation, each emerging somehow transformed. In the past Palfest has hosted figures such as JM Coetzee, Alice Walker, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Michael Ondaatje, Suheir Hammad, Claire Messud, Natalie Diaz, Teju Cole, Richard Ford, and many more. The festival seeks to expand the international intellectual community committed to justice for Palestine and through the tentpole activity of the festival, Palfest sparks new works and new connections: articles are written, books are inspired, industry figures are engaged – all of which combine to create a cumulative cultural effect.
The festival’s Founding Patrons were Mahmoud Darwish, Harold Pinter, Seamus Heaney, Chinua Achebe and John Berger; current Patrons are Philip Pullman and Emma Thompson; the festival’s Founding Chair is Ahdaf Soueif.