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Uplifting Palestinian Voices (Online Jan 24)

Updated: Jan 19

Lit Youngstown, Action Books, World Poetry Books, and Elizabeth’s Bookshop & Writing Center present a reading by poets Ghayath Almadhoun, Olivia Elias, Philip Metres & Deema Shehabi, and translators Catherine Cobham, Sarah Riggs, Jérémy Robert & Marie Silkeberg. Wednesday, January 24 at 1:00pm ET. To attend, visit Lit Youngstown's YouTube channel, click "Live."

Four poets, four translators, in five nations on three continents, uplift Palestinian voices and discuss the importance of poetry and works in translation.

Ghayath Almadhoun is a Palestinian poet born in Damascus, Syria, emigrated to Sweden, and lives in between Berlin & Stockholm. He has published four poetry collections in Arabic and has been translated into over 20 languages. Almadhoun has collaborated with other poets and artists, and his poetry has been part of work by US artist Jenny Holzer, German musician Blixa Bargeld, and others. His latest collection Adrenalin was published in English by Action Books in 2017.

Catherine Cobham taught Arabic language and literature at the University of St Andrews for many years and has translated the work of a number of Arab writers, including poetry by Mahmoud Darwish, and fiction by Yusuf Idris, Naguib Mahfouz, Hanan al-Shaykh and Fuad al-Takarli.  

Born in Haifa in 1944, Olivia Elias lived on three continents and she writes in French. Translated into English, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and Japanese, her poetry has appeared in numerous reviews and anthologies. She recently published two poetical collections: Chaos, Crossing and Your Name, Palestine (World Poetry editor).

Philip Metres has written twelve books, including Fugitive/Refuge, Shrapnel Maps and Sand Opera. Winner of Guggenheim and Lannan fellowships and three Arab American Book Awards, he is professor of English and director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at John Carroll University. He believes in a free Palestine. 

Sarah Riggs is a poet based in New York, her eighth book Lines coming out with Winter Editions in 2025. She translates poetry from the French, including Etel Adnan, Olivia Elias, and Souad Labbize, and has co-edited with Omar Berrada Another Room to Live In: 15 Contemporary Arab Poets, coming out with Litmus Press from the Tamaas Poetry Translation Seminars.

Jérémy Victor Robert is a translator who works and lives in his native Réunion Island. Together with Sarah Riggs, he translated Olivia Elias’s Your Name, Palestine into English (World Poetry Books, 2023). He published French translations of Donna Stonecipher’s Model City (joca seria, 2020), and Etel Adnan’s Sea & Fog (L’Attente, 2015).

Palestinian-American poet, writer, and editor Deema K. Shehabi is author of Thirteen Departures from the Moon and co-editor with Beau Beausoleil of Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here. She’s also co-author of Diaspo/Renga with Marilyn Hacker and winner of the Nazim Hikmet poetry competition in 2018.

Thank you to Elizabeth's Bookshop for managing book sales.

Founded by Rachel E. Cargle, Elizabeth’s Bookshop & Writing Centre is a bookstore in Akron, Ohio with a catalog that highlights, amplifies and celebrates the work of QTBIPOC writers, who are often excluded from traditional cultural, social & academic canons. A percentage of Elizabeth’s proceeds go to support the work of The Loveland Foundation, Inc, providing free therapy for Black women, girls and gender non-conforming individuals.

This event is sponsored by Sarah Lown & Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez.

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