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In Agatha’s Footsteps: Arabic Poetry Translation Workshops in Torquay

International Agatha Christie Festival

All are invited to join these collaborative translation sessions, all you need to participate is a love of words.

Join the Poetry Translation Centre at this Year’s Agatha Christie Festival to translate contemporary Arabic poets from Egypt, Syria and Iraq. Using Agatha Christie’s own travels as a jumping off point the PTC will be translating contemporary Arabic poets throughout the festival at daily workshops.

An enthusiastic traveller, Agatha Christie was inspired by her journeys in the Near East to write some of her most famous works including Death on The Nile and Murder in Mesopotamia. Translating contemporary poets from these countries allows us to celebrate Agatha Christie’s internationalism and discover exciting new artistic voices from that region.

Each day leading Arabic Translator Alice Guthrie and award winning UK poet Emily Hasler will be looking at a poet from a different country visited by Christie. Alice will provide literal translations and explain the cultural context of the work while Emily will guide the participants through the fascinating process of reconstructing the translations into powerful English language poems.

The finished translations will be presented at a reading with Sudanese poet Al Saddiq Al Raddi during the festival at 4pm, Saturday 16th September. Click here for details.

Emily Hasler lives on the Essex-side of the Stour. She has been published widely in magazines and anthologies, including Poetry London, Rialto, Magma, The Salt Book of Younger Poets and Dear World and Everyone In It. A pamphlet, Natural Histories (Salt), was published in 2011 and she is working on a full collection. In 2013 she was a Hawthornden Fellow and in 2014 she received an Eric Gregory Award. She owns an elderly but sharp rescue cat called Marple.

Alice Guthrie is a translator, editor and event producer specialising in contemporary Arabic literature and media. Since 2008 her translations have appeared in a range of international publications and venues, her work often focusing on Syria, where she studied Arabic between 2001 and 2003. As an editorial consultant she works bilingually on Arabic-English translations for various literary presses and journals, and monolingually across a range of English texts. She is curator and producer of the literary strand of Shubbak, London’s biennial festival of Arab arts and culture, and she lives in Bristol.

The Poets

Ameer Hussein is a Syrian Kurdish poet who writes in both Kurdish and Arabic. As a Kurd growing up in Syria under a regime that banned his mother tongue, he learnt to write in Kurdish without any support and outside of any institution. He was part of a group of young poets who published Inferno, a Kurdish and Arabic poetry magazine that was censored in Syria. He now lives in Erbil, Iraq, as a refugee in Iraqi Kurdistan, where he writes and translates for a range of Arabic newspapers.

Basma Abdel Aziz is an award-winning Egyptian writer, sculptor, psychiatrist and activist. A long-standing vocal critic of government oppression in Egypt, she writes a weekly political commentary column and is the author of several works of nonfiction. She was named one of Foreign Policy's Leading Global Thinkers 2016 for her highly acclaimed debut novel, The Queue, which appeared in Elisabeth Jaquettte’s English translation from Melville House that year. Her poetry has never appeared in English until now.

Kadhem Khanjar is a poet and performer from Iraq. Along with some friends, he set up a project called ‘the Culture Militia,’ a group which performs poetry in sites of destruction and death including blown-up cars, minefields, bombed out-houses, ambulances, ISIS cages, and mass graves. His collection Picnic with an Explosive Belt was published in Arabic by Dar al-Maktutat in the Netherlands, and his collection Blood Dealer was published in Antoine Jockey’s French translation as Marchand de Sang by Plaine Page.

We will be running three Workshops on the 14th, 15th & 16th of September

Cost: £30 three-day workshop ticket / £25 day pass, including access to all festival events / £90 full festival pass, including workshop and all festival events.

You can see all the other events these passes will get you access to on the Agatha Christie Festival website.

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