Over the weekend of 11 – 14 October 2018, readings and workshops took place across Ripon as the city hosted its second Ripon Poetry Festival (part of Ripon International Festival). This is organised by Smokestack Books with the support of the Little Ripon Bookshop.
Once again, Ripon City of Sanctuary was invited to support a session dedicated to the theme of refuge and exile. Last year our session featured 2 Syrian poets; for 2018, the focus was Palestinian poetry and specifically the 2017 book A Blade of Grass.
We were delighted to welcome its editor, Naomi Foyle, and contributing poet Mustafa Abu Sneineh.
The visiting readers
Naomi is a prize-winning poet, essayist and science-fiction novelist. She co-founded British Writers in Support of Palestine, and is a non-Muslim Fellow of the Muslim Institute.Mustafa Abu Sneineh is London-based poet and a journalist for Middle East Eye.
A Blade of Grass brings together, in English and in Arabic, new work by poets from the Occupied West Bank and Gaza, from the Palestinian diaspora and from within the disputed borders of Israel. Naomi and Mustafa took turns reading a selection of poems in English and Arabic.
The reading was well-attended and the Q&A session afterwards drew a series of thought-provoking questions from the audience. We are very grateful to Naomi and Mustafa for coming all the way from Brighton and London, respectively, and to Smokestack Books for helping to keep these important issues to the fore.