Banipal is keen to promote live literature events that include Arab authors. Check out this section for news of events that Banipal is organising or is involved in. For a photo report of a recent event, click here.

Banipal Live 2006 – 14-20 August
From the heart of the Arab world,
four young writers on tour

 The Banipal Live UK tour of young Arab writers took place in August with a series of performance-readings and live discussions at bookshops, theatres and libraries. Poets Joumana Haddad from Lebanon and Abed Ismael from Syria, and fiction writers Mansoura Ez-Eldin from Egypt and Ala Hlehel from Palestine were the authors of the tour, which was a partnership of Banipal magazine with the British Council, generously supported by Arts Council England.

The tour was launched on 14 August at a Welcome Reception in Bloomsbury, the heart of literary London, and attended by a number of important figures from the British and Arab literary scenes, media and publishing. The first reading took place at the popular London Review Bookshop, with the tour finale at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and performance-readings in Derby, Chesterfield, Manchester and South Shields en route. All the authors read their own works in translation, along with short extracts in the original Arabic.


Click here for more information about the Arab authors public library project
Host of the tour is Banipal's assistant editor and Iraqi author Samuel Shimon.


The paperback volume, Unbuttoning the Violin, featuring selected works by the four writers, celebrates their tour of the UK, and is available at all readings and can be purchased directly from Banipal. It is published by Banipal Books, ISBN 0-9549666-2-7, price £3.95.

 Monday 14 August
Writers’ Reception Party in Bloomsbury

Abed Ismael reading some of his poems at the reception party  Mansoura reading at the reception party


Ala Hlehel reading a short story at the reception party


 London Tuesday 15 August
London Review Bookshop,
14 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL

Authors walking to first reading at the London Book Review bookshop   LRB bookshop reading

Authors signing the tour's book           more signing...
In Tour...

the authors and host Sameul Shimon waiting to start their tour    walking in the rain

Joumana Haddad and Mansoura Ez-Eldin
Wednesday 16 August

Chesterfield Library, New Beetwell Street, Chesterfield S40 1QN

preparing for the Chesterfield reading   Mansoura Siging at Chesterfield's library

  Derby Abed Ismael and Ala Hlehel
 Wednesday 16 August

Derby Central Library,
The Wardwick, Derby DE1 1HS
English Translations of Arab authors - 2


Manchester Thursday 17 August 
Manchester Central Library,
St Peter’s Square,
Manchester M2 5PD

Authors at the Manchester reading     Samuel Shimon and Julia Bird reading Joumana's poems at Manchester

Authors at the BBC Lancashire Radio station


Works by Arab authors in Arabic - 2

In Tour...

A lunch in tour    Visiting Lumb Bank writer's retreat in Yorkshire

South Shields Friday 18 August
Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields NE33 1ES
Introduced by Peter Mortimer

Writer Peter Mortimer introducing the authors in South shields    Authors on the millennium bridge in Newcastle    

Joumana in abstentia at costum house
Arab authors in Translation 1
Edinburgh Sunday 20 August 
Peppers Theatre,
Charlotte Square Gardens, Edinburgh

the finale at the Edinburgh Book Festival    Authors and Clare Lockerbie the director of Edinburgh book festival

Abed Ismael and David Harsent    Authors signing the tour's book

Margaret Obank and Robert Irwin and other guests    Samuel Shimon and Iraqi authors

Suzy Joinson from the Britsh Council and Julia Bird

Good bye...

Ala Hlehel and Julia Bird say farewell at the end of the 2006 Banipal Live Tour


Arab Authors in Arabic - 1
For more information email

Tour Host: Iraqi author Samuel Shimon
Tour Producer: Banipal Publisher Margaret Obank
Tour Manager: Freelance Live Literature Producer Julia Bird


Unbuttoning the Violin front cover

The paperback volume, Unbuttoning the Violin, featuring selected works by the four writers, celebrates their tour of the UK, and is available at all readings and can be purchased directly from Banipal. It is published by Banipal Books, ISBN 0-9549666-2-7, price £3.95.

Banipal Live 2006 is generously supported by Arts Council England

Arts Council England

Banipal Live 2006 Partners


Banipal magazine of modern Arab literatureBanipal magazine was founded in 1998, and since then has presented in its pages over 500 different authors from the Arab world. It's a magazine for avid readers. To subscribe or buy a back issue, click here. For more information about us, click here.

"Banipal has given modern Arabic literature . . . a new voice and a compelling presence within the English language. It has also proven that nothing is lost in translation" Anton Shammas


The British Council
The British Council is committed to increasing links and partnerships between the UK and the Arab world, supporting and promoting a eries of events to bring together writers, publishers, translators and journalists and to cultivate an exchange of Arabic and English literatures. For further information about the British Council’s work in this area please contact

The Reading Agency
The Reading Agency is an independent charity with a mission to help libraries create a 21st century reading service. It runs major national library programmes such as the Summer Reading Challenge, and has led the creation of new national partnerships for libraries with BBC Learning, BBC Radio, the nine Reading Partners publishers and Orange. For further information visit