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2015 Festival Report

2015 Festival Report

Partners

2015 Festival Report

Patrons

Thank you dear friends


for your noble solidarity,
thank you for your courageous
gesture to break the moral siege
inflicted upon us and thank you
because you are resisting the
invitation to dance on our graves.
We are here.
We are still alive.
Mahmoud Darwish, May 2008
From PalFests first patron, the late, great Mahmoud
Darwish, at PalFests opening night in Ramallah.

CHINUA
ACHEBE

JOHN
BERGER

MAHMOUD
DARWISH

SEAMUS
HEANEY

HAROLD
PINTER

PHILIP
PULLMAN

EMMA
THOMPSON

2015 Festival Report

Artists

PalFest Opening Night, the Ottoman Court Garden, Ramallah - by Rob Stothard
Leila Abdelrazaq
Atef Abu Saif
Sinan Antoon
Tarik Al Araby
Asmaa Azaizeh
Ahmed Azem
Ibtisam Azem
Malika Booker
Francesca Borri
Sarah Carr
Molly Crabapple
Suha Daher-Nashif

Wafa Darwish
Arafat el Deek
Rabeea Eid
Richard Ford
Giles Fraser
Ru Freeman
Subhi Hadidi
Nathalie Handal
Amer Hlehel
Sara Ishaq
Brigid Keenan
Firas Khoury

Suhail Matar
Khader Mehjez
David Mura
Neesan
Jamal Qawasmi
Raja Shehadeh
Walid el Sheikh
Dirk Wanrooij
The Wanted 18
Haifa Zangana

2015 Festival Report

Molly Crabapple reads in Ramallah - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

Objectives

PalFest bookstore which tours with the festival at Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah - by Rob Stothard

1. To support cultural life in Palestine.


Decades of military occupation have restricted the movement of people, books, and art, and
prevented cultural connections which would otherwise have occurred naturally. PalFest brings
Palestinian and international artists together, we bring books across the borders, our festival
crosses military checkpoints to reach our audiences.

2015 Festival Report

Richard Ford by an occupation army watchtower at Bethlehem checkpoint - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

Objectives

Artists cross an Israeli checkpoint in al-Khalil/Hebron [above] and Qalandia checkpoint [below] - by Rob Stothard

2. To relay a fraction of the Palestinian experience.


For our visiting authors, the festival is an unparalleled opportunity to experience a fraction of life in
Palestine. They travel to and perform in cities across historic Palestine, they walk through the streets
of Hebron and in the hills of Ramallah, they meet with activists in Haifa and academics in Bethlehem.
By the end of the week, they leave with a unique set of impressions and emotions that stay with them
forever.

2015 Festival Report

Subhi Hadidi in the grounds of Al-Makassed Hospital, Jerusalem - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

Objectives

Asmaa Azaizeh [above] and Rabea Eid [below] speak at The Arab Cultural Association, Haifa - by Rob Stothard

3. To profile new Palestinian talent.


PalFest is a bi-lingual festival where events happen in both Arabic and English. Every year we highlight
new Palestinian talent. This year our programme featured 7 Palestinian authors under the age of 30.

2015 Festival Report

Sinan Antoon reads to a full house at The Ottoman Court, Ramallah on PalFests opening night - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

Public Events

PalFest chair Ahdaf Soueif opens PalFests final night, at the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center - by Rob Stothard
In 2015 we put on free, public events in Bethlehem, Gaza, Haifa, Jerusalem, Nablus and Ramallah.
In every venue we enjoyed a full house. We estimate that some 1200 people attended Palfest
events this year.

2015 Festival Report

Author Meetings

Sami Wojkowski [above] and Ray Dolphin [below] discuss life in Palestine with PalFest artists - by Rob Stothard
In order to understand as many facets of life in Palestine as possible, the visiting authors meet with
a selection of intellectuals and activists. We are grateful to PalFest friends Raja Shehadeh (author),
Omar Barghouti (BDS Palestine), Abdelfattah Abusrour (al Rowwad), Mazin Qumsiyeh (Bethlehem
University), Raja Khalidi (The Khalidi Library), Ray Dolphin (UNRWA), Ranin Jeries (Zochrot) and Sami
Wojkowski (the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee) for sharing their time and their expertise with us.

2015 Festival Report

Author Meetings

Talks by Ranin Jereis of Zochrot in Haifa [above] and the Khalidi Library in Jerusalem [below] - by Rob Stothard
You can find more information about our partners in Palestine below:
BDS Palestine
Bethlehem University
Hebron Rehabilitation Committee

The Khalidi Library


al Rowwad Cultural Center
UNOCHA

Zochrot

2015 Festival Report

A boy digs through the rubble of his former home by Molly Crabapple - reporting from Gaza after PalFest 2015

2015 Festival Report

PalFest Gaza

Neesan [above/below] opened PalFest 2015 with a musical performance at The Adam Hotel, Gaza - Facebook
For the second year running, the Israeli seige and Egyptian blockade made it impossible for us to
bring visiting artists into Gaza. So our partners in Gaza organised three evenings of events under the
PalFest banner. These included a literary discussion, a musical performance, a film screening and a
long skype interaction with Mourid Barghouti in Cairo.

2015 Festival Report

PalFest Gaza

2015 Festival Report

Leila Abdelrazaq reads graffiti while walking alongside Israels apartheid wall in Bethlehem - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

Translations

Facebook
Every year PalFest publishes an anthology of selected works by our authors of the year - translated
in Arabic. Most translations are original and commissioned by the festival. This year we printed
500 copies of the anthology which was available free to the audience at every venue. We have also
published it online. All the translators as well as the editor contributed their work for free to PalFest.

2015 Festival Report

Translations

Leila Abdelrazaq [above] discusses her work, translated for students at Bethlehem University - by Rob Stothard
We also produced a separate booklet of an original translation of the first twenty pages of Laila
Abdelrazaqs Baddawi. Thank you to Just World Books for their partnership on that initiative.

2015 Festival Report

Translations

Khalil Touma [above] provided live translation to PalFest audiences via headset- by Rob Stothard
One of the many ways the British Council supports PalFest is the provision of live simultaneous
translation at all our events.

2015 Festival Report

Authors cross Qalandia checkpoint from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank to Jerusalem - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

Obstructions
Running a travelling festival through a country under military occupation is always a challenge. Two
days before the festival was due to begin, one of our visiting artists, Sara Ishaq, was denied entry at
the border.

Facebook

2015 Festival Report

Obstructions

Welcome signage at the Israeli military controlled Allenby crossing from Jordan into Palestine - @MWHamilton

2015 Festival Report

Obstructions

Raja Shehadeh reads from his book to a full house at the Municpal Library Gardens in Nablus - by Rob Stothard

PalFest moves between cities every day and the group moves as a Palestinian has to. We avoid
using settler roads or checkpoints.

2015 Festival Report

Obstructions

2015 Festival Report

In al-Khalil/Hebron, the Old City - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

Our Reach

Sanctuary by Leila Abdelrazaq - one of 7 illustrations documenting her PalFest experience on Electronic Intifada

1. Traditional Media.
There was straight news coverage of the festival on Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Arabic, Middle East
Monitor and Jadaliyya.
A high number of participants wrote directly about their experiences and more are working on longer
pieces. All have said that the experience will certainly percolate through their work in unforseeable
ways.
Laila Abdelrazaq created a series of original illustrations about the festival for the Electronic Intifada.
Tarek el Araby reported on the festival for Al Araby Al Jadeed.
La Georgeson Caparros wrote a moving account of her crossing Qalandia for the first time in
Mondoweiss.

2015 Festival Report

Our Reach

The ruins of El-Wafa Hospital, in Gazas Shujaiya neighborhood by Molly Crabapple for VICE
Sarah Carr wrote detailed analytical dispatches for Jadaliyya and Mondoweiss.
Molly Crabapple reported from Gaza for Vice, the 5th most popular magazine website on the internet.
Yasmin El-Rifae wrote about festival preparations for the highly influential LRB Blog.
Giles Fraser dedicated his weekly Guardian column to his time with the festival.
Omar Robert Hamilton wrote about working in Palestine for the past eight years for Mada Masr.
Dirk Wanrooij wrote an extensive, personal account of his trip, also for Mada Masr.
Haifa Zangana wrote important and carefully thought out pieces for Middle East Monitor and Al-Quds
Al-Arabi.

2015 Festival Report

Our Reach

Tech-savy audience members documenting PalFest 2015s opening night at the Adam Hotel, Gaza - Facebook

2. Social Media.
Its impossible to calculate our online reach, but we do know some things:

Each Facebook post reaches an average of 7,000 views and we post multiple times a day.

Over the last year our Facebook page has swelled from 15,000 to 116,000 likes.

Of the pieces written about the festival we are able to track at least 20,000 direct shares.

We created a Storify to pull together some of the social media highlights of the week.

2015 Festival Report

Our Reach

One of hundreds of PalFest 2015 posters across the West Bank, here in the Old City of Nablus - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

Our Reach

2015 Festival Report

Our Reach

Ru Freeman reflects on the roof of Al Rowwad Cultural Center, Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

Our Reach

2015 Festival Report

Our Reach

Malika Booker speaks to a packed auditorium at Bethlehem University on PalFests 5th day - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

Our Reach

Francesca Borri speaks at PalFest 2015s closing night at the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center - by Rob Stothard

Writer for the Times Literary Supplement

2015 Festival Report

Giles Fraser speaks at Dar al Tifl in Jerusalems Old City - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

Sustainability

Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, on PalFests 5th night - by Rob Stothard


We work to run the festival to a tight budget and to spend as much of the funds as possible in Palestine.
We rely on the generosity of our partners and the dedication of our staff each year to deliver the
festival. But we continue to run it on less than an ideal budget. So any and all assistance on the
financials is always appreciated.
It will hardly make us self-sustainable, but we have established an online shop so fans can buy our
famous canvas bags here.
To make a donation, please click here.

2015 Festival Report

At the Municipal Library Gardens, Nablus - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

Staff
The PalFest Team:

Thanks:

Board of Trustees
Omar Robert Hamilton
Nathalie Handal
John Horner
Brigid Keenan
Ahdaf Soueif

Consultants
Hussam Ghosheh
Maath Musleh

Founding Chair
Ahdaf Soueif

Film
Murat Gkmen

Festival Producers
Omar Robert Hamilton
Yasmin El Rifae

Photography
Rob Stothard

Art Director
Muiz

Digital Editor
Lobna Abdulhassan

PR
FMcM

Treasurer
John Horner

Books & Bags


Ismail Richard Hamilton
La Georgeson Caparros

Literature Advisor
Najwan Darwish

PalFest Logo
Jeff Fisher

Anthology Editor
Nada Hegazy

Web Consultant
Ahmed Osama

Production Manager
Beesan Ramadan

Translation (Live)
Khalil Touma

Gaza Partner
Diwan Ghazza
Ebaa Rezeq

Translation (Texts)
Ahmed Adel
Ahmed Al-Husseiny
Nada Hegazy
Nouran Ibrahim
Raghdaa Saber
Shady Tariq el-Sawy
Somayya el-Shamy
Yasmine Mohsen
Yusra Mustafa

Haifa Partner
The Arab Cultural Association
Nablus Partner
Project Hope

Suad Amiry & Selim Tamari


Eyad Barghouthi
Omar Barghouti
Bloomsbury Publishing
Pronto Caf
Susannah Clapp
Dar al Tifl
Mahira Dajani
Wafa Darwish
Ray Dolphin
Rose Fenton
Amal Ghandour
Paola Handal
The Hebron Rehabilitation
Committee
Rasha Hilwi
Rachel Holmes
Raneen Greis
Raja Khalidi
The Khalidi Library
Marlyn Khalil
Suha Khuffash
Safwan Masri
Yasmine Mohsen
The Nablus Municipal Gardens
Alexandra Pringle
The Ramallah Municipality
Stormtrap
Hakim Sabbah
Mohammad Sayeh
Raja Shehadeh
Alan Smart

2015 Festival Report

A man walks through al-Khalil/Hebrons Old City - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

The Future

PalFest artists purchase local products in Nablus Old City while en-route to the event venue - by Rob Stothard
PalFest 2016 will be running from May 20th to 27th. We are already building a very exciting list of
authors. We have new ideas about how to develop the festival and we will be excited to roll those out
later in the year.

William Sutcliffe attended PalFest in 2010.

2015 Festival Report

A Palestinian man returns home after attending a PalFest event hosted by Aida Refugee Camp - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

How to Help

PalFest artists purchase local products in Nablus Old City while en-route to the event venue - by Rob Stothard
PalFest closes its panel event at Bethlehem University to rapturous applause and laughter - by Rob Stothard
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We post news about Palestine all year round.

You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel, bookmark our website where well be debuting more
content once our re-design and build is completed and subscribe to our Mailing List.
Come to our Events.
Click here to make a gift. Or to discuss a major donation to the festival please email Omar on
o.r.hamilton@palfest.org

2015 Festival Report

How to Help

Extraordinary Rendition brings together


the work of sixty-five prominent writers
to examine Americas culpability in the
denial of human rights and dignity to
Palestinians in Israel/Palestine and
beyond.

This is a book that Americans who believe theyre interested in a just peace between Palestinians
and Israelis should read. Its a wide and diverse and eloquent book of witness. And its a revelation,
and its shocking. And its tragic. RICHARD FORD
Extraordinary Rendition stands in the tradition of engaged artists, speaking in defense of liberty and
justicevalues that ought to be universal but just as often are used as fig leaves by historys victors.
Here, renowned writers turn their words to battered, defiant and beautiful Palestine (a place whose
oppressors receive the backing of America, a country whose passport many of these writers hold).
Its a risky stance, but the best art takes risks. Inside find nuance, challenge, empathy deep into the
bone. MOLLY CRABAPPLE
In Extraordinary Rendition, an eclectic range of American writers break through the stereotypes
and distortions of our media and provide a far more nuanced, penetrating and three-dimensional
portrait of Palestinians, their history and the political realities they face daily. The range of genres and
approaches make this a necessary and timely anthology, and it should be read by as large and wideranging an audience as possible. DAVID MURA

2015 Festival Report

A moments quiet in the Ramallah hills - by Rob Stothard

2015 Festival Report

2015 Festival Report