2010 Souk Ukaz: A Market of Ideas ~ Essaouira/Jerusalem/Fès

The writers have been documenting their travel at http://uipeacework.wordpress.com/

In an age of near-total access, real or virtual, and with the ubiquitous images smoothing pathways into any place even remotely unknown, what is there to do today for a writer on the road? What monuments and moments, gestures or events are worth singling out in travel writing as the tide of global sameness slowly rises? Can speed of dispatch coexist with depth of vision? Where does one look, and whom does one write for?

The invitation of the 2010 SoukUkaz will be to compare perspectives on writing in and for the instantly connected world, on a traveler’s inevitable otherness, and on the literary craft needed to shift these perspectives.

Two six-person delegations (two American and four international in each), consisting of five writerss and a photographer, one headed for Essaouira, the other to Jerusalem, will travel forthree days (April 18 to April 21) of writing, discussion, and intense city tourism.

Each group will share a communal meal and professional talks with local writers, take guided tours to cultural nexus points and observe closely the particulars of a city which each participant will be visiting for the first time. A block of time will be set aside each day for the writers to sketch their impressions and post on a shared blog.

In addition to the meetings with local writers, there will be two communal discussion sessions: one around prepared reading materials, and one discussioncomparing first drafts and first impressions, with special attention to the presence and influence of cultural/ethnic/religious preconceptions.

On April 22,the Essaouira and Jerusalem delegations will converge in the Moroccan UNESCO Heritage city ofFés for four days of cultural programming, conversations and reflection. The twelve travelers will weigh their experiences and their strategies in capturing“on the fly” a never-before-visited place. In sharing their notes, the conversations about the impact of differences and similarities on an artist’s perceptions might open up on larger issues, including grounds of social conflict and obstacles to peaceful coexistence. A few weeks later, the participants will contribute a revised version of their various sketches and images, framed by a brief commentary, to a common (electronic) volume.

Peacework :: Writers in e-Motion :: 2010

Nukila AMAL(Indonesia) is a Jakarta-based novelist. Her short story collection, Laluba, won Best Literary Work of the Year by Tempo magazine in 2005, and her first novel Cala Ibi (2003) shortlisted for the Khatulistiwa Literary Award. Her short story “Smokol” (Brunch) won the Kompas daily ‘s best short story awardfor 2009. She is also the co-translator for and editor of several anthologies of poetry in translation.

Jaka BABNIK (Slovenia) graduated from the University of Ljubljana with a degree in history (thesis title “History of Slovenian Skateboarding”). Since 1996 he has also been working as a photographer and a cinematographer, among other assignments as a photo editor for the Slovenian-Croatian magazine Pendrek. As a filmmaker he has made several award-winning skateboard shorts; as a photographer he has exhibited in Slovenia, Croatia, Germany and Sweden. www.jakababnik.com

Karen CONNELLY (Canada) is the author of nine books of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, including Grace and Poison, One Room in a Castle, This Brighter Prison, The Disorder of Love, and The Small Words in My Body. The most recent is Burmese Lessons, a Love Story, a memoir about her experiences on the Thai-Burma border. She has won awards for her poetry, her non-fiction, and an Orange Broadband Prize for New Fiction for her first novel The Lizard Cage. www.karenconnelly.ca

Josh DICK (USA) is a New York- based photographer, whose work focuses on global politics, particularly as they affect environmental and conservation issues. Recent work includes reportages on water conservation projects in South Africa and the New York State watershed. www.joshdickphoto.com

Dina GUDYM (Kazakhstan) has worked in television and film in Almaty, and written for the Kazakhstan editions of Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar magazines. Her novel, Colon with a Bracket, was long-listed for the Russian Debut Prize, 2007.

Eddin Bu-Eng KHOO (Malaysia) has been involved in preserving the heritage of Malay culture. A journalist with The Star, Malaysia 's main English newspaper, he has written many articles about the arts and traditions of Malaysia, and translates widely into the Malay.

Gary NABHAN is a writer, ethnobotanist and conservation activist. He is the author of many books on plants, plant cultures and conservation, for which he has received both literary and scientific awards, among them the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing, the Lannan Literary Award and, in 1990, the MacArthur. He teaches in the Geography Department at the University of Arizona. www.garynabhan.com

Mabrouck RACHEDI (France). A banker by training, Rachedi publishes in a variety of French periodicals and newspapers, including Metro and Respect Magazine. He is the author of two novels, Le petit Malik (2008) and Le Poids d’une âme (2006) and an essay, Éloge du miséreux (2007). Of Algerian heritage, he often comments on immigrant-related issues on television, radio, and other media, and is active in cultural and citizenship outreach programs.

Sarah SAFFIAN (USA) is an author, a journalist, and a teacher. Ithaka,her memoir of being an adoptee found by her birth family has become an adoption classic. She has contributed to The New York Times, The Village Voice, The San Francisco Chronicle, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, New York, Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, and Slate.com. A frequent media commentator, she also teaches at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. www.saffian.com - The Infinity Within excerpt

Ognjen SPAHIĆ (Montenegro) is a novelist and short fiction writer. After studies in engineering and philosophy at the University of Montenegro, has published the novel Hansenova djeca (2004) and two collections of short stories, Sve to ( ‘All That’, 2001) and Zimska potraga ( 2007). Hansen’s Children won the 2004 Mesha Selimovic Award, and is forthcoming in English translation in 2010. He works as journalist for the independent daily Vijesti in Podgorica.

Carol SPINDEL (USA) , a teacher and activist, is the author of two books of nonfiction. In the Shadow of the Sacred Grove, a NYTimes Notable Book, is a memoir of a year in a village in Côte d’Ivoire; Dancing at Halftime explores American sports teams’ use of imaginary American Indian iconography. Her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Oxford American and The Writer’s Chronicle, on National Public Radio, and elsewhere. She teaches in the Department of English at the University of Illinois.

The writers have been documenting their travel at http://uipeacework.wordpress.com/

Happening Now

Find Us Online