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Palestinian Writer Shares Experience of Literature Translation in Exile

Palestinian poet and translator Mazen Maarouf delivered on April 11, 2016 a lecture on translation and Palestine’s literature as part of a lectures series organized by the Palestinian International Book Fair.

Marouf talked about his experience as a poet and writer in exile. “I was born in Tal al-Zaatar refugee camp in Beirut and then forced into a double exile in Iceland, where I discovered that the interaction between cultures and literature is an ethical mission.”

Maarouf spoke about the importance of translation in the Palestinian case. “Understanding the forces that informed Palestinian writers is necessary to appreciate their literature and art.” He also explained how he finds it important that the Arab reader gets to read a work of a different culture in a different context.

“Literature tends to express perceptions of identity, both of the individual members of the society and of the society itself. This is seems especially relevant in the case of Palestinian literature, which should be treated as a medium to record and convey the tribulations and aspirations of the Palestinians.”

He pointed out that literature is seen as an integral part of the experiences of the Palestinian people, their attachment to the land and the ideology of their political struggle. “The interconnection between Palestinian writers and other cultures has contributed to an accumulation of the translated production of Palestinian literature.”

Palestinian writer and translator Saleh Almani was supposed to deliver the lecture alongside Maarouf, but was blocked from entering Palestine.

The talk, organized by the Deanship of Students Affairs, was facilitated by Arabic Language and Literature Department chair Ibrahim Abu Hashhash and was attended by Ayat Nazzal, a representative from the Ministry of Culture.