I have been to Morocco for fourteen days when I was twentysomething and fell in love with the country. I red The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles and learnt that Port Moresby (here the hero, otherwise the place where my parents spent three years!) defines himself as a traveler, not a tourist. „The desert was too powerful an entity not to lend itself to personification.“ I planned to go back for years.
I was delighted to hear the news: The International Writing Program will host a gathering of writers and artists in Morocco, in the form of a Souk Ukaz, a regional tradition of intellectual exchange.
The group will spend a week from 27th April till May 3d 2009 in Casablanca and Fez, discussing the presentations, visiting the surrounding cityscapes (Volubilis, Meknes, Azrou), meeting with local writers and artists and staging public readings.
The topic Writing In and Beyond the City springs from the tipping point reached at the turn of this millennium: for the first time in history, more people live in cities than in rural areas, closer to nature. Cities are magnets and magnifiers, their concentration offering a rich terrain for the mind and the arts, a space where change is paramount.
Yet what if contemporary literature’s urban bias gets in the way of imagining the concerns and forms of the sub-urban, the provincial, the peripheral? Thus if we must begin to write to the scale of endangered eco-systems, must fiction and poetry give up its love affair with the polis?
The writers: Krzysztof Czyzewski (Poland), Katie Ford (USA), Carlos Gamerro, (Argentina), Michal Hvorecky (Slovakia), Roseanne Saad Khalaf (Lebanon), Gürgenç Korkmazel (Cyprus), Haris Pašovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Barbara Ras (USA), Alberto Ruy-Sánchez, (Mexico) Faouzi Skali (Morocco), Anastassis Vistonitis (Greece) Eliot Weinberger (USA) Kyoko Yoshida (Japan). And program Director: Christopher Merrill (USA).
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!:-)