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Arts and culture

The Hay Festival is back in Beirut

BEIRUT |, with agencies - April 30, 2013, 16h07
The Hay Festival returns to Beirut from May 8 till 10 for another insightful round of events with some of the world’s most interesting and engaging authors, thinkers, journalists and artists. This event encourages the interaction of cultures and ideas by bringing speakers from a variety of backgrounds for discussions, debates and workshops. This year’s festival in Beirut emphasizes topics such as freedom of expression, women’s rights, graphic storytelling, and new literature.
Hay Festival helps put people in the mood for dialogue. This is crucial not just for our region but for culture worldwide,” says Fadi Tofeili, who moderates a panel for a second year, this time around with three finalists of the International Prize for Arab Fiction 2013: Mohammed Hasan Alwan (Saudi Arabia), Saud Alsanousi (Kuwait) and Jana Elhassan (Lebanon).

The diverse program comes through the support and partnership of a number of organizations from around the world and in the region such as the British Council, Colombia Global Centers,American University of Beirut, and the French Institute of Lebanon. Several events focusing on rights and expression are in cooperation with Google, PEN International and Pen Lebanon for topics such as Women’s Battles and the Post-authoritarian Arab Order, Freedom Of Expression and Censorship, and A Space For Change: Politics And Women’s Rights In The Middle East. The Hay Festival has also committed to engaging young and varied audiences through an outreach program in partnership with Assabil to hold events at local schools and libraries.

“Beirut is an exciting place to host a festival of dialogue with the some of the most important international writers, personalities and creators of the moment,” says Cristina Fuentes La Roche, Director Hay Festival Beirut.

Celebrated writers such as Karl OveKnausgard (Norway), HanifKureishi (UK) or HyamYared (Lebanon) will speak about their recent work and their personal approach to writing. Hani Shukrallah (Egypt) will speak with Baroness Helena Kennedy (UK) about her career and experiences in the field on international law; international experts on women rights such as HebaMorayef (Human Rights Watch, Egypt), Samar Dudin (Regional Director and Head of Programs at Ruwwad, Jordan), Elham Saudi (Director of Lawyers for Justice in Libya) or Fawaz Triboulsi (AUB) will tell us about the challenges faced by women in the political field in the Middle East. Hanan Al Shayk, a leading contemporary Lebanese writer, will read with Nidal Al Achkar (Lebanon) fragments of her new book. Joe Sacco (Malta) will show us his extraordinary work as a journalist that uses graphic novels as a way of communicating his research.

“Hay managed to create, in a small group
of literary and artistic types, the international feel of much larger events, a true breath of fresh air and new ideas,” said JoumanaMedlej, a graphic author who participated in the festival in 2012.

The festival this year expands to several locations in addition to the Zico House and the Beirut Art Center. Events will also be held at a new site for arts, 392Rmeil393, Institut Français Du Liban and various venues at the American University of Beirut. A documentary screening will occur at the Instituto Cervantes De Beirut and a performance by Hanan Al Shaykh and Nidal Al Ashkarwill be heldat MasrahAl Madina.

For more than 25 years the Hay Festival has celebrated great writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists from all over the worldfrom its home in Hay-on-Wye in Wales. It now runs 15 festivals across five continents, emphasizing the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking and to imagine the world as both a record and a possibility. An author who has spoken in Cartagena de Indias(Colombia) and Beirut, ÓscarGuardiola-Rivera, explains how the festival approaches the human condition: “What an incalculable gift it is to be part of this family, the Hay family of brothers and sisters, which contains in its concreteness the universal desire for brotherhood and sisterhood that defines the human.”

The three-day festival runs from 8-10 May. All events are free, but to ensure entry you must reserve a ticket.For more information, booking and the full program, please visit:
#Beirut_festival, #Culture_in_Beirut
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