Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Why Narrative Matters

Melchite Hirmologion written in Syriac Sertâ b...
Melchite Hirmologion written in Syriac Sertâ book script (11th century, St. Catherine's Monastery, Mt. Sinai. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's, for rather obvious reasons, quite a booky week this week. I started it by attending the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature moderators' training session last weekend at the rather wonderful 'Dar Al Adab' (house of literature). It was good fun and we all learned stuff, which is as good a combination you'd want in return for an investment of your time!

The week's obviously ending with the launch of the Middle East edition of Beirut - An Explosive Thriller. I've been hearing snippets of the performers' plans and I think we're in for some treats. The nice people at Apres are throwing in a welcome glass of bubbly to get the after party started, too.

I've been doing the day job as well, but I'm taking tomorrow afternoon out to travel up to Ras Al Khaimah, where I'm giving a talky/workshoppy thing at the Al Qasimi Foundation Reading Roadshow, which is backed by the LitFest, British Council and all sorts of other good people.

I'll be taking a room of a couple hundred teachers on a journey of discovery. I'll be exploring my theory that the importance of narrative in maintaining and communicating cultural identity is under-estimated in the Middle East. That the region has allowed itself to be defined by voices other than its own. I'll be asking them if that's right - and if so, why? And if we agree that it matters, I'll be trying to find out what they think we can all do about it.

I think it's going to be fascinating. It'll either be a train crash or a triumph - my idea of a fun way to spend an afternoon. And, who knows, if we all have good fun and learn stuff, we'll have all invested our time wisely!

More information and registration for the roadshow is linked here.

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