Writing Syria: Alia Malek and Wendy Pearlman in Conversation @ Judson Memorial Church - New York City, New York [23 February]

Writing Syria: Alia Malek and Wendy Pearlman in Conversation

19:00 - 21:00

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Judson Memorial Church - New York City
55 Washington Sq S, New York, New York 10012
From wrenching loss to staggering resilience, the experiences of Syrians enduring war and displacement seem to defy expression. How can one put it in writing? Using different sources and methods, Alia Malek and Wendy Pearlman have produced acclaimed books on Syria that place Syrian voices and agency front and center.

Please join us for this intimate conversation between the two authors, moderated by Rawya Rageh of Amnesty International, about the human dimensions of the Syrian conflict and how different forms of reportage and storytelling – from literary journalism to oral history to human rights investigations – can generate empathy and understanding in a time when both are under threat.

Alia Malek is a journalist and former civil rights lawyer. She is the author of The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria (2017), A Country Called Amreeka: US History Re-Told Through Arab American Lives (2009) and editor of Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post 9/11 Injustices (2011) and EUROPA أوروپا: An Illustrated Introduction to Europe for Migrants and Refugees (2016). Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, the New Yorker online, McSweeney’s, Guernica and other publications. She is a recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and in November 2016, she was honored with the 12th annual Hiett Prize in the Humanities.

Wendy Pearlman is the Koldyke Outstanding Teaching Associate Professor of Political Science and a faculty member of the Middle East and North African Studies Program at Northwestern University. She is the author of Occupied Voices: Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Intifada (2003), Violence, Nonviolence, and the Palestinian National Movement (2011), and We Crossed A Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria (2017). Based on more than 300 interviews with displaced Syrians on three continents, We Crossed A Bridge was longlisted for the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence and selected for the Texas Library Association Topaz Reading List honoring “nonfiction gems.”

Rawya Rageh is a Senior Crisis Advisor for Amnesty International tasked with investigating war crimes and human rights abuses. She has documented violations in Syria and the Philippines, and the impact of President Trump's immigration executive order. Her most recent report on Syria detailed the forced displacement of thousands of civilians and other horrors associated with the Syrian government's «surrender or starve» siege and bombardment strategy. She was a journalist for 15 years, covering the Middle East and Africa for the Associated Press and Al Jazeera English. She covered the aftermath of 9/11 in the Middle East, the Iraq War, the conflict in Darfur, the Arab Uprisings and their aftermath.

Reviews of Alia Malek's The Home That Was Our Country:

“A brilliant combination of geopolitics and family history… eloquently exploring grief, resilience, and loss. [Malek] is a deft reporter and storyteller.” —Publisher's Weekly

“A necessary, conscious corrective… [It does] what hasn't been done often enough thus far — wrest back the story of Syria for ordinary Syrians, showing us a place that has been lost and that most of the world never knew. [A] remarkable book.” —Bookforum

Reviews of Wendy Pearlman's We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled:

«Equal parts heroic epic and tragedy, [Pearlman's] book covers the events leading up to and following the Syrian uprising, stitching together the collective journey of Syrians… The result is a people’s history of activists, mothers, doctors, students, actors, fighters, and therapists who describe life and loss during this tumultuous period.» —Chicago Magazine

“This book is something of a treasure trove, bustling with insight. In addition to giving Syrians a voice, it should be a companion to anything watched or read on Syria. It puts the very real, humanising voices of Syrians back into the spotlight, which is precisely where they belong.” —The New Arab

Both books will be available for sale at the event and both authors will sign copies.

Judson Memorial Church is located right on Washington Square, at 239 Thompson St. The event will take place in Assembly Hall.

For detailed subway directions and parking information:

This event is free of charge and open to the public.


Syria Deeply

Muftah Magazine

Amnesty International USA

Guernica / a magazine of global art & politics

Network of Arab-American Professionals of NY (NAAP-NY)
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