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World Literature Weekend: Mourid Barghouti with Ruth Padel

Venue: London Review Bookshop, London, UK

Midnight and Other Poems, translated by Radwa Ashour, is the first major collection of Mourid Barghouti’s poetry to be published in the UK. This remarkable Palestinian writer, best known to English-language readers for his autobiography I Saw Ramallah, which won the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, has spent many years in exile, and Midnight is a rich emotional montage of images of the land of his birth. He will read, then talk with Ruth Padel, whose latest book is Darwin: A Life in Poems. Barghouti and Padel will discuss translation, home and homelessness, here and away, language and landscape, self and other.

Mourid Barghouti was born in 1944 in Deir Ghassana near Ramallah, Palestine. He has published 12 books of poetry, the latest of which is Muntasaf al-Layl (Midnight). He was awarded the Palestine Award for Poetry in 2000. His autobiographical narrative, Ra’aytu Ramallah (I Saw Ramallah), published in several editions in Arabic, won the Naguib Mahfouz Award for Literature in 1997 and was translated into several languages. Edward Said described I Saw Ramallah as ‘one of the finest existential accounts of Palestinian displacement we now have’ and John Berger wrote that I Saw Ramallah was ‘a bedside book if ever there was one, unforgettable memories, razor insights, name-games, stories with eyes closed, no conclusions, only the passionate pain of exile, recounted at the end of the day by a true poet’. Mourid Barghouti lives in Cairo.

Ruth Padel is a prizewinning British poet. She has published seven poetry collections; her most recent, Darwin: A Life in Poems, is a biography in poems of her great-great-grandfather Charles Darwin. She has also written a wide range of non-fiction – on ancient Greece, on reading modern poetry, on tiger conservation, and on the influence of Greek myth on rock music. She writes and broadcasts on literature, music and conservation, was Chair of the UK Poetry Society 2004-6 and is Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the Zoological Society of London.

Part of the London Review Bookshop’s World Literature Weekend

Ticket prices include postage. Concessionary rates available for LRB subscribers, Friends of the British Museum, students and OAPs – please call +44 (0)20 7209 1141

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