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[15 Sep 2015 | No Comment | 87 views]
Leading writers respond to the refugee crisis in The Guardian – read Yazbek’s contribution

This collection of texts was commissioned and published by The Guardian, on September 12th 2015. Photo credit: Ed Alcock, MYOP Diffusion, The Guardian,
The refugee crisis, though long in the news, has suddenly captured the world’s attention. But what are the underlying causes, and what should individuals and governments do to help? Samar Yazbek responded (below) – along with Orhan Pamuk, Arundhati Roy, Elif Shafak, Ahdaf Soueif, Pankaj Mishra,

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[30 Jun 2015 | No Comment | 61 views]
Edited excerpt from Yazbek’s “The Crossing” in The Guardian

This excerpt was published by The Guardian on June 28, 2015.
Photo credit: The Guardian, Sedat Suna, EPA
The barbed wire lacerated my back. I was trembling uncontrollably. After long hours spent waiting for nightfall, to avoid attracting the attention of Turkish soldiers, I finally raised my head and gazed up at the distant sky, darkening to black. Under the wire fence marking the line of the border a tiny burrow had been dug out, just big enough for one person. My feet sank into the soil and the barbs mauled my back …

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[14 Oct 2012 | No Comment | 87 views]
The Guardian on Yazbek’s PEN Pinter prize

She interviewed protesters, doctors, neighbours and defectors about what was happening in the streets, prisons and hospitals of her country, what they saw and what was done to them, often finding that after they had talked to her, they disappeared. She never pretends that she is being heroic, although her persistence sometimes feels foolhardy. This week the book was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize, given annually to a British writer who, as Harold Pinter put it in his Nobel speech, casts an “unflinching, unswerving” gaze upon the world (this year, Carol Ann Duffy), and shared with an international writer who has been persecuted for speaking out about their

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[4 Aug 2011 | No Comment | 238 views]

Two huge men entered the room. They stood in readiness, in plainclothes. One of them stood to the right and the other to the left. With a signal from his eyes, each seized me by the shoulders, though not roughly. They seized me as if I were some object, easy for them to move. I did not resist when they started to lift me out of my chair.

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[5 May 2011 | No Comment | 94 views]

It was the final day of the fourth Palestine Festival of Literature and I knew it was going to be a long day.

I’m a student volunteer at the festival, and the closing event was to take place in the Silwan Solidarity Tent – a public meeting point in a deeply threatened neighbourhood of my city, Jerusalem – with more than twenty writers from all over the world.

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[1 May 2011 | No Comment | 423 views]

Over the last decade, a new generation of Arabic novelists has been moving beyond the social realism of their predecessors to reach out to the world.