The Jerusalem International Writers Fest was held mid-May, just two weeks before the Palestine Festival of Literature was staged all across historic Palestine. At the Jerusalem festival, there was no apparent recognition of Arabic literature, despite the city’s large (~34%) Arab population. How can that be? asks blogger “Arablit”: Your Middle East

At the opening ceremony of the Jerusalem International Writers Festival, author Dror Mishani decried this lack:

More and more, Hebrew literature is being created from itself, within itself, contrary to the way that it has been created over the centuries – with too little dialogue with foreign literatures – and even turning its back to languages and literatures around and inside it.

This year’s Palfest raises important questions of the politics of literary representation: Aljazeera

palfest_finalOn the opening night of the sixth Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) in Ramallah, an impassioned controversy broke out over the political correctness of literary and cultural representations of Palestinians in world literature. The renowned Danish writer Hanne-Vibeke Holst read an excerpt from her 2011 novel, Undskyldningen (The Apology), which injects a Palestinian turned suicide bomber, Khalil, into a rocky relationship between a liberal mother, Helena Tholstrup, and her daughter Sophie. Holst had not finished reading when some members of audience audibly made it clear that such images are offensive and outrageous.

The annual Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest), which takes place this week in five different cities: Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nablus and Haifa. In its seventh edition, PalFest, despite being run on a shoestring, has attracted prominent Palestinian, Arab, European, American, Asian and African names.

PalFest has managed to skirt around the movement restrictions imposed by the Israeli military to field a diverse programme including readings, theatrical performances, music, discussions and workshops.