Advertisement Close

Palestine Writes Literature Festival

Palestine Writes Literature Festival

Date(s) - 09/22/2023 - 09/24/2023
1:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Add This to Your Calendar

Irvine Auditorium Main Hall


Contact Person:
Laura Albast or Rana Sharif


“Three years after Covid-19 forced the inaugural Palestine Writes Festival to be held virtually, the only Palestinian literature festival in North America is back with an impressive list of writers, artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, and other intellectuals. The festival will be held at the University of Pennsylvania’s historic Irvine Auditorium on September 22-24, 2023. One-off events will also take place in the days leading up to the festival’s opening on Friday.

Speakers include Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, Arabic Booker Prize winner Ibrahim Nasrallah, celebrated filmmaker Darin Sallam, rock music legend Roger Waters, and dozens more renowned authors, such as Elias Khoury, Huzama Habayeb, Isabella Hammad, Sahar Mustafah, Suad Amiry, Salman AbuSitta, Gary Younge, Nur Masalha, and more.

The festival will be bilingual, with simultaneous translation for most sessions. The program and speaker list are published online, featuring 1) continuous children and YA programming; 2) Coffee & Books sessions; 3) Panel discussions; 4) Plenaries; 5) Hakawati oral storytelling; 6) An art exhibit; 7) Workshops; 8) Presentations; 9) A film screening, and; 10) Live performances.

Some highlights of the festival include:

The Cost and Rewards of Friendship. A discussion with Viet Thanh Nguyen, Gary Younge, Roger Waters, and Rachel Holmes on what it means to live ethically and in solidarity with Palestinian in the midst of an empire that holds Palestinian in contempt.

The Novel as a Historic Record. Lebanese writer Elias Khoury, Aboriginal Australian writer Ali Cobby Eckerman, and Viet Thanh Nguyen will talk about the ways in which novels correct, obfuscate, reinvent, or destabilize history.

Film director Darin Sallam, creator of Farha, a ground-breaking Palestinian film that streamed on Netflix and was Jordan’s submission for the Oscars, will talk about her film and Palestinian cinema in general.

Palestinian chefs Fadi Kattan, owner of Fawda Restaurant and akub London, and co-author of Craving Palestine, and Reem Assil, owner of Reem’s California and author of Arabiyyeh, will talk about Palestinian cuisine, food appropriation, and agricultural traditions cultivated over centuries in Palestine.

Al Ajaweed Dabke Troupe, traveling to Philadelphia from the Palestinian refugee camp of Baqa’a in Jordan, will perform Palestinian traditional line dance to folkloric songs.


The Festival will be the most dynamic gathering of Palestinian creatives in North America. In addition, the newly formed Palestine Writes Press will launch its first book, a translation and reprint of Ghassan Kanafani, at the Festival; the book was written by the Palestinian legendary writer’s widow, Anni Kanafani, and will feature a new foreword by Kanafani’s childhood friend Dr. Fadle Naqib, and an introduction by scholar and historian Louis Allday. The Press also plans to release an anthology of fiction, poetry, and other creative prose by Palestinians across the diaspora in 2024.


Palestine Writes is the only North American literature festival dedicated to celebrating and promoting cultural productions of Palestinian writers and artists. Born from the pervasive exclusion or tokenization of Palestinian voices in mainstream literary institutions, Palestine Writes brings Palestinian cultural workers from all parts of Historic Palestine and our exiled Diaspora together with peers from other marginalized groups in the United States. Crossing multiple borders—geographic, linguistic, generational, and cultural boundaries—writers, artists, publishers, booksellers, scholars, musicians, and thinkers hold conversations about art, literature, and the intersections between culture and power, struggle, politics, climate change, sexuality, human rights, animal rights, food sovereignty, and more.”

Loading Map....