Ministry of Culture

“Writers strolling in the city”

As part of the events surrounding the selection of Beirut as the “World Book Capital” for 2009, the Saint-Joseph University will be organizing a 2-day event celebrating both the city and the book. It has thus invited fifteen international writers to come and express themselves in front of the Lebanese public, through a series of meetings, debates and round table discussions in an unprecedented event entitled “Writers strolling in the city”.

Famous novelists and rising talents, cosmopolitan, worldwide travelers, sedentary dreamers, and witnesses of the human and urban changes in our modern societies, these writers originate from 10 different countries. They write in 6 different languages and have all directly or indirectly, in their own way, addressed the city in their work, and narrated diverse societies either in actual cities or in imaginary ones. Gathering these writers in a single location is bringing together all the cities of the world: Mexico City, Shanghai, Barcelona, Montevideo, Nablus, Majorca, Tyre, Sao Paolo, Minas Gerais, Palermo, Rome, Managua, and Luanda amongst many others. But further beyond the main theme, these meetings intend to gather a vast array of today’s literature trends, under all its forms, subjects, issues, and languages, in the heart of Beirut, a city that symbolizes cultural and religious diversity but that has also witnessed severe turmoil in the course of the larger History.
The meetings will take place on November 25th and 26th, 2009, in the Pierre Aboukhater Amphitheatre of the Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences (“Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines”) of the Saint Joseph University in Beirut. They will be moderated by professors from the University as well as other invited professors and specialized journalists from the Lebanese press.

Initial program

Wednesday September 25th

Inventing cities
Meeting with Olivier Rolin
Moderated by Mr Dominique Viart

Montevideo-Palma de Majorque: Cities and Memories
Round table with Juan Carlos Mondragon and José Carlos Llope
Moderated by Mr Charif Majdalani

Palermo’s saga
Meeting with Simonetta Agnello
Moderated by Mrs. Nayla Tamraz

Shanghai and Identity
Meeting with Wang Anyi
Moderated by Mr Noël Dutrait

Nablus as a metaphor
Meeting with Sahar Khalifa
Barcelona, a literary myth
Meeting with Eduardo Mendoza
Moderated by Mr Anthony Karam

Thursday November 26th
Sao-Paulo/Minas Gerais-Luanda/Managua: cities between violence and tenderness
Round table with Luiz Ruffato and Patrick Deville
Moderated by Mr Dominique Viart

Tyre-Olonnes: cities of poets
Round table with Abbas Beydoun and Jean-Christophe Bailly
Moderated by Mr Stéphane Baquey

Rome and cinema
Meeting with Vincento Cerami
Moderated by Mr Gérard Bejjani 

The contemporary world seen from Mexico
Meeting with Jorge Volpi
Moderated by Mrs Liliane Sweydane

Meeting with Elias Khoury
Moderated by Mrs Katia Ghosn