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FESTIVAL PRE-LAUNCH: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

8 MARCH,Training for Workshop Leaders

11:00am – 12:30am: Workshop

Writer Rachel Holmes and poet Ryan Van Winkle will jointly lead a workshop for the all local writers participating in the festival (22-24 April) on approaches to teaching creative writing. This workshop for workshop leaders will explore a variety of teaching methods for both poetry and prose. During the festival itself the participating writers will teach workshops for aspiring writers and students from a variety of universities in these two literary forms and across the three principle languages: Kurdish, Arabic and English. Applications for April workshops will be simultaneously opened online.

Venue: Salahaddin University

Simultaneous translation will be provided

TEDx Talk in partnership with the United Nations and Springboard

1:30pm – 1:45pm: Rachel Holmes tells the story of 5000 years of feminism from the Sumerians – one of the first societies to produce its own literature (dating from 2600 BC) and shortly after that female poets – all the way to Niniti Festival, and illuminates how this ancient world continues to inspire the best contemporary writers from the region and beyond.

Venue: Rotana Hotel

Simultaneous translation will be provided

Festival Preview

4:00pm – 6:00pm: Poetry and Prose Readings

Introduced by Adalet Garmiany, readings will be given by Abdul Mutabil, Rachel Holmes, Awezan Nuri, Ryan Van Winkle and Ruzh Halabjay to celebrate International Women’s Day and the upcoming literature festival in April. The readings will last for fifty minutes and will be followed by a fifteen minute break, after which there will be questions from the floor.

Venue: Erbil Writer’s Union

Simultaneous translation will be provided

18 – 21 April: REEL IRAQ POETRY WORKSHOPS

Building on successes of previous years, Reel Arts will bring four UK based poets and four Iraqi poets to Erbil, Iraq in order to participate in four days of translation workshops and collaborative poetry experiments. This will yield dozens of new translations in Arabic, Kurdish, Scots, and English. Production of new work will also be facilitated. It will bring both emerging and established poets together in a relaxed environment where work and friendship between artists can grow. Workshops will be run by Ryan Van Winkle, with the support of Lauren Pyott, Dina

Mousawi and Hoshang Waziri.

Venue: Stars Hotel, Shaqlawa

DAY ONE, 22 April

Press Conference

9:45am: Coffee and refreshments

10:00am: Introduction from Key Dignitaries and Local Partners

10:30am-11:25am: Ladies of Life: Introductory Poetry Reading and Discussion

Drawing on the title of the festival, NINITI – which is an ancient Sumerian epithet for a goddess meaning ‘Lady of Life’ – we commence with poetry readings from four participating female poets: Choman Hardi, Elham Nassar Al-Zobaedi, Samarqand Al-Jabiri and Awezan Nuri. These readings will be followed by twenty-five minute discussion responding to the poems that have been read and reflecting on the women writers from previous generations who have inspired the panelists, chaired by Rachel Holmes.

Venue: Goran Hall at Chwar Chra Hotel

Simultaneous translation will be provided

2:00pm – 4:00pm: Poetry Writing Workshops

 

Three parallel poetry workshops for twenty students each will be run in each of the main languages, hosted by writers participating in the festival. The English language workshop will be taught by Kapka Kassabova; the Kurdish language workshop by Rozh Halabjay and the Arabic language workshop by Shaker Siffo. The best piece of writing from each workshop will be selected by the workshop leader to be read at the public closing event.

Venue: Cultural Centre at Salahaddin University

Echoes of Enheduanna: Opening Event

Enheduanna was an Akkadian princess of the city-state of Ur and the author of The Sumerian Temple Hymns which have survived from the Old Babylonian period and continue to be read and sung to this day. This opening event of music and readings celebrates Enheduanna’s enduring influence by showcasing a range of contemporary international and local writers.

5:30pm-5:50pm: Musical Performance

A selection of classical and traditional Kurdish and Iraqi music played by the Iraqi National Orchestra Organization for Youth. With Annie Skender Awanes playing first violin, Alan Abdulrazaq Rasheed playing second violin, Shahad Jamal Abdulazzez playing the cello and Daroon Abdulrazaq Rasheed playing the viola.

6:00pm-7:30pm: Poetry Reading

Readings from all the international and local poets including Julia Copus, Ghareeb Iskander, Choman Hardi and Kapka Kassabova.

Venue: Goran Hall at Chwar Chra Hotel

Simultaneous and textual translation will be provided

DAY TWO: 23 April

10:30am – 12:30pm: Storytelling Workshop

Stories surround us and shape the way we understand ourselves. In these multilingual workshops for aspiring storytellers, writers participating in the festival will explore a variety of techniques, including oral history. The English language workshop will be hosted by Rachel Holmes, in Arabic by Ghareeb Iskander and in Kurdish by Choman Hardi. The best piece of writing from each workshop will be selected by the workshop leader to be read at the public closing event.

Venue: Cultural Centre at Salahaddin University

Speaking Truth to Power

2:00pm – 3:30pm: A Roundtable Discussion

In this discussion leading authors and cultural figures explore the relationship between feminism, art and politics today. What are the strengths of literature in shining a light on political issues? Ranging from the local to the international and from sectarianism to FGM, this roundtable will feature Choman Hardi, Rachel Holmes, Mam Botani, Ahmad Abdel Hussein and Nidhal Al Qadhi. Chaired by Dr Fadhil President of the Iraqi Writer’s Union.

Venue: Goran Hall at Chwar Chra Hotel

Simultaneous translation will be provided.

Present Day Penelopes: the Mad, Bad Girls of Myth and Legend

4:30pm – 5:30pm: Poetry Readings

What can epic heroines, heroes and the poets who brought them into being tell us about the present? From Gilgamesh, the demigod King of Uruk and great hero of Sumerian poetry, who was devoted to his mother Ninsun and rebuilt the sanctuary of the goddess Ninlil, to Odysseus who left Penelope waiting for him whilst he set out on his adventures, to Enheduanna, the first major Sumerian poet who was expelled from Ur where she was also a princess, what modern parallels can be drawn? Readings from Ghareeb Iskander whose most recent poetry revisits the myth of Gilgamesh, Choman Hardi, Vicki Feaver, Samarqand Al-Jabiri and Salem Balayi, followed by a panel discussion chaired by Dr Himdad Abdul-Qahhar Muhammad.

As Choman Hardi’s poem ‘The Penelopes of my Homeland’ begins:

Years and years of silent labour
the Penelopes of my homeland
wove their own and their children’s shrouds
without a sign of Odysseus returning.

6:00pm – 7pm: Panel Discussion

Venue: Goran Hall Chwar Chra Hotel

Simultaneous translation will be provided

DAY THREE , 24 april

Found in Translation

11:00am – 12:30pm: Poetry Reading

This very special event features poetry from four poets based in the UK and four Iraqi poets. Presenting new translations in Arabic, English and Kurdish will be Mariem Maythem Qasem Al-Attar, Ahmad Abdel Hussein, Ali Wajeeh, Zhwen Shalai, Nia Davies, Vicki Feaver, SJ Fowler and Kei Miller. This event is the culmination of the Reel Arts translation project which will take place prior to the festival where these eight poets will work together in the tranquility of the Safeen mountains. This reading will reveal not only the original poetic intention of the authors but also the unique intimacy and empathy possible between poets with different cultures and traditions but surprisingly similar concerns.

Venue: Chwar Chra Hotel

Simultaneous translation will be provided

Written on the Body

2:00pm – 4:00pm: Panel Discussion

Our daily lives are saturated with culturally imposed narratives about how the female body should look. What impact does this have on women, from youth to old age? A panel of local and international writers come together to discuss this theme, including Julia Copus, whose recent poems explore the sometimes ghostly relationship between women and fertility, and Kapka Kassabova, whose recent memoir recounts the bodily pleasures and perils of tango. Also featuring Ruaa Zuhir, Mariem Maythem Qasem Al-Attar and Zhwen Shalai. Chaired by Choman Hardi.

Venue: Goran Hall at Chwar Chra Hotel

Simultaneous translation will be provided

Finale: New Beginnings

5:30pm – 7:00pm: Music And Readings To Close The Festival

Three writers from the festival – Choman Hardi, Abdul Mutalib and Elham Nasser Al Zobaedi – will deliver keynote speeches on what they have discovered over the course of the previous three days and will look ahead to the challenges facing women. With music from Iraqi National Orchestra Organization for Youth and readings from students and writers selected from the Niniti Writing Workshops.

A selection of classical and traditional Kurdish and Iraqi music played by the Iraqi National Orchestra Organization for Youth. With Annie Skender Awanes playing first violin, Alan Abdulrazaq Rasheed playing second violin, Tuqa Sa’ad ja’afer playing the cello and Daroon Abdulrazaq Rasheed playing the viola.

Venue: Goran Hall at Chwar Chra for readings followed by Hotel Garden for music

Simultaneous and textual translation will be provided

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