The conflict in Syria continues to provoke reaction across the world on a daily basis, including in the works of writers and artists from all backgrounds. There is much to react to, be it the roots of the conflict itself, the humanitarian catastrophe that has followed, or the actions of the nations and governments looking on.

In an afternoon of discussion, reflection and powerful poetry, Syrian writers will present their reactions to the events in their country, and bring a complex global disaster into an intimate, personal setting where it can be confronted and illuminated.

You are invited to join novelist and commentator Robin Yassin-Kassab and activist Leila Al-Shami, both co-authors of ‘Burning Country: Syrians in Revolutions and War’; poets Bashar Farhat and Amir Darwish; as well as Mohammad Abu Hajar, rapper and founder of Mazzaj, Syria’s first rap band.

Unfortunately, due to visa restrictions, Mohammad Abu Hajar is no longer appearing at this event


Leila Al-Shami

Leila Al-Shami has worked with the human rights movement in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. She was a founding member of Tahrir-ICN, a network that aimed to connect anti-authoritarian struggles across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. She is co-author of ‘Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War’, which explores the horrific and complicated reality of life in present-day Syria.

Amir Darwish

Amir Darwish is a British Syrian poet and writer of Kurdish origin. He was born in Aleppo and came to Britain as an asylum seeker in 2003. He completed an MA at Durham University before moving to London where he currently lives and writes. Amir has published work in the UK, USA, Pakistan, Finland & Mexico.

Photo: Kev Howard

Bashar Farhat

Bashar is a 31 year old doctor, from Syria, now living as a refugee in Bradford. Bashar was detained twice by the government regime before escaping illegally to Lebanon, where he taught creative writing to Syrian children. In March 2015, he was given humanitarian protection in the UK. Since arriving in Bradford, he has been volunteering with projects working with refugees.

Mohammad Abu Hajar

Unfortunately, due to visa restrictions, Mohammad Abu Hajar is no longer appearing at this event

Mohammad Abu Hajar is a Syrian rap artist, producer and founder of Mazzaj, Syria’s first rap band. Influenced by events around him, his politicised lyrics resulted in his incarceration and torture. He fled from Syria to Italy where he studied for a Masters in Political Economics and is now based in Berlin.

Robin Yassin-Kassab

Robin Yassin-Kassab has recently contributed to books including ‘Syria Speaks’, ‘Shifting Sands’ and ‘Beta Life: Stories from an A-Life Future’. His book reviews and commentary appear in The Guardian, The National, al-Araby al-Jadeed, the Daily Beast and elsewhere.