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AUK Holds its 3rd Biennial Literary Festival

The American University of Kuwait held its 3rd Biennial Literary Festival earlier this month. Co-organized by the University Library and the Academic Advising and Learning Support Services (AALSS), this year's festival focused on the theme of Migration, Identity, and Cultural Transformation.

The three-day event featured a group of outstanding writers, artists and poets whose works and whose lives are profoundly shaped by the theme of this year's festival, which included Randa Jarrar, author of the Arab-American Book Award-winning A Map of Home and most recently Him, Me, Muhammad Ali; Sinan Antoon, author of I'jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody, The Corpse Washer, and The Baghdad Eucharist (the re-titled English translation of Ya Maryam, shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2013; Thurayya Al-Baqsami, internationally-recognized artist and author of the award-winning short story collection Cellar Candles; Mai Al-Nakib, author of The Hidden Lights of Objects, winner of the Edinburgh International Book Festival's First Book Award; Bothayna Al-Essa, novelist and founder of Takween for creative writing; Nejoud AlYagout, poet and essayist, author of three anthologies of poetry: This is an Imprint, Awake in the Game of Pretending, and Ounces of Oneness; and Nada Faris, well-known Kuwaiti performance poet and author of Fountain of Youth.

The festival included a series of lectures, readings, poetry & music performances, book signings, a writing workshop, and a roundtable discussion of this year's theme. Book signings for each of Randa Jarrar and Sinan Antoon were held in the University Library where students met with the authors and got copies of their recent books signed by them.

On the second day, Thurayya Al-Baqsami shared her experience as a pioneering Kuwaiti artist and author with the AUK community. Some of her artwork was placed on display throughout the days of the event. This was followed by a creative writing workshop at the Writing Center by award-winning author and one of the guest speakers, Randa Jarrar. The two-hour workshop was attended by students and staff members at the Writing Center and Tutoring Center. Jarrar introduced the audience to the concept of creative writing building on her experience as a novelist and a professor at the Department of English at California State University, Fresno. Attendees worked on several writing exercises where specific technical issues were addressed.

The closing day of the literary festival featured one hour of poetry reading, videos, and performances, followed by a roundtable discussion of the event's theme. Dean of Academic Support Services, Dr. Mary Queen, moderated the panel discussion, which included Sinan Antoon, Mai Al-Nakib, and Randa Jarrar.

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Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 23rd April 2017


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