My pen, my voice: the Arab Women Literature Festival in Tunis

From the 17th to the 18th January 2020, elbarlament, in cooperation with World Art Connection and the city of Tunis held the Arab Women Literature Festival under the slogan ‘My pen. My voice’ in the Medina of Tunis. The festival was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. 

The festival brought together female authors from Iraq, Morocco, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. They introduced the audience to the different worlds of writing genres and allowed them explore the unique talents and styles of female writing. Next to public readings, the authors discussed the situation of female writing among the Arab world.

The festival was opened by the Mayor of Tunis, Souad Abderrahim, the Tunisian Minister for Women’s Affairs, Neziha Labidi, the German deputy ambassador, Carsten Meyer-Wiefhausen, and the Managing Director of elbarlment, Dr Birgit Laubach. The opening remarks were followed by readings of authors such as Radiya Shehaybi from Tunisia and Samarkand al-Djabiri from Iraq. For individual writing experiences, participants of elbarlament’s Train-the-trainer programme in Iraq hosted their own interactive writing workshops on prose, literature and drama, and on the second day of the festival, writers from Iraq, Syria, Libya and Tunisia held a discussion on writing in times of war and conflict.

The event was part of the project “Cultural Initiatives for Civil Society in Iraq 2019”, which is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.