Read My World International Literature Festival takes place from 10 to 12 October at the Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam.
This year we have a thematic focus on Morocco, including guests from many different places. It’s all about creating spaces for literature & culture to be expressed by all on an equal level.
I have curated a few programmes for this year’s edition, including:
There is a lot of beauty in the freedom to have sex, to desire and feel lust. How are those sensations expressed in literature, in the arts, in (popular) culture? How do these depictions affect us – as writers, artists but also viewers, members of the society.
We also tend to think of certain cultures as more taboo than others, especially within Western societies, but Western cultures have a long history of repressing sexuality. One thing that unites all repressions is patriarchy, which is present across geographies, historical contexts and cultures.
We invite writers and artists to tell us stories about sexuality from their own perspective or the perspective of the art and literature that feed them. Through this programme, we want to debunk all the stereotypical depictions of sex and move beyond the taboos to create a space where sex can be talked about freely through poetry, storytelling, performance… This event will explore the many ways it is possible to express oneself through the flesh.
With: Bahaa Trabelsi, Sanaa El Aji, Hajar Moutaouakil and Leïla Bahsain
Moderator: Warda El-Kaddouri
I have also curated a programme called Many Motherhoods, which I am sure will challenge all our preconceptions about motherhood.
Motherhood creates different layers within relationships: to children, grandchildren, but also partners, fellow parents, friends, lovers… How does the status of motherhood – no matter how we define it – impact on our relationships, on society, on politics…
With Many Motherhoods we ask Fedwa Misk, Abdellah Taïa, Bahaa Trabelsi and Quinsy Gario, writers and artists who live and have lived in Morocco, the Netherlands, Curaçao, France… to tell us what motherhood is to them: through the books they read, their lives, their emotions, their writing, their art and work.
In a conversation moderated by journalist and academic Warda El Kaddouri, they discuss how do they relate to motherhood and who, in their life, represents motherhood? It can be one as it can be many. Our guests will all bring their own perspectives, from their chosen and imposed identities, and open up the possibilities that not one but many motherhoods are possible.
I have of course included a programme on collaborative poetry translation, open to all, because I believe literature and poetry can be a magnificent playground for all to express themselves. This one will be led by Nisrine Mbarki on the poetry of Palestinian poet Asmaa Azaizeh.
Last but not least, I have curated 2 programmes with Mona Eltahawy (special guest of our festival this year): Our Bodies, discussing the body with three themes: sexuality, the state and activism;
and Queer it up! From Screen to Pen, a programme about how film and tv have inspired queer-writers in their work. Moderator Yael van der Wouden (Uitgeverij CHAOS) talks with Mona Eltahawy, Mavi Veloso, Ibrahim Alaoui and Abdellah Taïa.