Series: Najwan Darwish Online Tour

Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish, translator Atef Alshaer & UK poet Paul Batchelor celebrate the publication of 'Embrace' with a series of online events.

This October the PTC is publishing Embrace a dual-language Arabic and English collection of poems by Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish, who has been called one of the foremost Arabic-language poets of his generation. This collection includes many new poems and was translated by Atef Alshaer with UK poet Paul Batchelor

In his poetry, Darwish can be very direct, often bleak, but witty. The nuances and ironies of his poems emerge later as the reader digests the work. The poems return again and again to exploitation and injustice using an arsenal fo different literary techniques. He displays an earned cynicism, born of a familiarity with injustice. While an awareness of history is evident, the collection starts with a poem that connects with 9th-century thinker Al-Ma’arri, similarity known for his pessimistic outlook and there are poems about the Nakba, the 1948 Palestinian exodus, the work is definitively about the present, not the past 

Darwish is very much a world poet who happens to be a Palestinian poet. Darwish’s work points to a wide array of cultural influences, from John Berger to the Great Wall of China. He holds a prominent role in Arabic poetry, published his first collection in 2000 and has published 8 since. His role as a cultural journalist gives him a significant profile and influence too. 

Embrace is the latest collection from the PTC's World Poet Series that showcases the most exciting living poets from Africa, Asia and Latin America and has an Afterword by Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee.

This tour will be taking place online but with local partnerships across the UK with events being co-hosted by the Manchester Literature Festival and Sheaf Poetry Festival in Sheffield.


Najwan Darwish is a Palestinian poet born in Jerusalem in 1978. He published his first book of poetry in 2000. His poetry has been translated into over twenty languages and in 2009 he was named one of the thirty-nine best Arab writers under the age of forty by the Hay Festival Beirut 39 project. His book Nothing More To Lose, was listed as one of NPR's best books of 2014. Both as a poet and as a cultural critic he has had an enormous impact on Arabic literature, described by the New York Review of Books as 'one of the foremost Arabic-language poets of his generation'.

Atef Alshaer is a Senior Lecturer in Arabic Studies at the University of Westminster. He was educated at Birzeit University in Palestine and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he obtained his PhD and taught for a number of years. He is the author of several publications in the fields of language, literature and politics, including Poetry and Politics in the Modern Arab World, 2016; The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication (with Dina Matar and Lina Khatib), 2014 and A Map of Absence: An Anthology of Palestinian Writing on the Nakba, 2019.

Paul Batchelor was born in Northumberland. His pamphlet, To Photograph a Snow Crystal, was published by Smith|Doorstop in 2006, and his first full-length collection of poems, The Sinking Road, was published by Bloodaxe in 2008. His work has appeared in several anthologies and he has won the Times Stephen Spender Prize for Translation and the Edwin Morgan International Poetry Prize.


Events from Najwan Darwish Online Tour