Sun 11 July 2010
Ledbury Poetry Festival – Iraqi poets

At the Ledbury Poetry Festival, Event No 75

Fadhil al-Azzawi     Sinan Antoon
Fadhil al-Azzawi      and     Sinan Antoon

2.30pm - 3.30pm, Sunday 11 July.
Burgage Hall
Book signing after event.   Tickets: £8

The Ledbury Poetry Festival welcomes two poets in the forefront of Iraqi writing today – Fadhil al-Azzawi, living in Germany, and Sinan Antoon, living in the USA. They will discuss the central place of poetry until today in Iraqi life and read from their works. Fadhil al-Azzawi left Iraq in 1977 and is a renowned poet with many collections, while Sinan Antoon left Iraq in 1991 and is a comparative newcomer to the Iraqi poetry scene. Both are also novelists, critics, literary translators, and contributing editors of Banipal magazine.

Chair: Margaret Obank, Editor, Banipal.

The prolific poet and novelist Fadhil al-Azzawi was born in Kirkuk, northern Iraq, in 1940. He started publishing poetry in Arabic literary magazines as a fifteen-year-old teenager, and now has numerous volumes of poetry to his name, as well as six novels, a collection of short stories, two works of criticism and umpteen translations from English and German into Arabic. He also reads his poetry at festivals all over the world. Some years after suffering two years of imprisonment by the Ba’athists in 1963, he published the first Iraqi prison novel, Cell Block Five, now published in English translation. Fadhil al-Azzawi has a BA in English Literature from Baghdad University, and edited literary magazines and newspapers, both in Iraq and abroad. When he left Iraq in 1977 he settled in Germany, gaining a PhD in Journalism from Leipzig University.

His poetry and novels have been translated into several languages with excerpts translated into German, English, Italian, Hebrew, Kurdish, Dutch, and other languages. His poetry collection In Every Well a Joseph is Weeping, translated by Khaled Mattawa, won QRL’s international poetry book competition in 1997, and in 2003 his collection Miracle Maker: Selected Poems of Fadhil Al-Azzawi, translated and introduced by Khaled Mattawa, was published by BOA Editions, USA.  He is a contributing editor of Banipal magazine.  Click here for more information about Fadhil al-Azzawi's life and works.

Sinan Antoon
is a poet, novelist, translator and filmmaker. He was born in Baghdad in 1967 and moved to the USA after the 1991 Gulf War. His poetry and articles (Arabic & English) have appeared in various journals and publications. He has two collections of poems in Arabic, Mawshur Mubalalal bil-Hurub [A Prism; Wet with Wars]. Merit, Cairo, which was published in English as The Baghdad Blues in April 2007 by Harbor Mountain Press, and Lalyn Wahidun fi Kull al-Mudun [One Night in All Cities], Beirut, 2010.

His poetry was anthologized in Iraqi Poetry Today and Inclined to Speak: An Anthology of Arab-American Poetry. He has also numerous translations of Arabic poetry into English, many published in Banipal issues. His co-translation of Mahmud Darwish’s poetry was nominated for the PEN Prize for translation in 2004 and his translation of Darwish’s last prose book, In the Presence of Absence, is forthcoming from Archipelago in 2010. Click here for more information about Sinan Antoon and his works.


The Ledbury Poetry Festival is the biggest and best poetry festival in the UK, taking place every summer in July over ten days. The programme presents an exciting array of events, featuring poets and performers from all over the world. Since 2006 the festival has collaborated with Banipal magazine in putting on recitals and events with poets from the Arab world, from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Jordan and Iraq, and this year Banipal is more than pleased to celebrate poets from the United Arab Emirates. The festival events include live recitals, performances, workshops, open mics, music, exhibitions, films, family events, street events, the slam, and much more.

To contact the Box Office click here or phone 0845 458 1743

To Register with the Festival and buy tickets online, click here

After you  log in, click here to buy tickets for Event 68 – Emirati Poets, and for Event 71 – Iraqi poets

To plan your visit to Ledbury, click here

This event is supported by

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