Friday, December 7 – Ibtisam Barakat
Loft Literary Center. Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, 7-10 pm.
Publication reception of her book, Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood.
In a spare, eloquent memoir, Barakat recalls life under military occupation. In 1981 the author, then in high school, boarded a bus bound for Ramallah. The bus was detained by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint on the West Bank , and she was taken to a detention center before being released. The episode triggers sometimes heart-wrenching memories of herself as a young child, at the start of the 1967 Six Days' War, as Israeli soldiers conducted raids, their planes bombed her home, and she fled with her family across the border to Jordan . She also recalls living under occupation and the thrill of being able to attend the United Nations school for refugees. The political upheaval is always in the background, but for young Barakat, much of the drama was in incidents that took place in everyday life. What makes the memoir so compelling is the immediacy of the child's viewpoint, which depicts both conflict and daily life without exploitation or sentimentality.
About Ibtisam Barakat
Ibtisam S. Barakat is a Palestinian-American writer, poet and educator. Her work centers on healing the hurts of racism, sexism, and the oppression of young people. Ibtisam was a delegate to the United Nation's conference on the elimination of racism, which was held in Durban , South Africa , August 2001. She leads Write Your Life seminars and speaks frequently on using personal narrative and literature to repair social relationships, and toward the collective authoring of a world fully welcoming to everyone. Recently, Ibtisam was interviewed at NPR's Talk of The Nation, and sponsored by the Harvard-based Arab Educational Forum, she led writing workshops for young people and educators in Morocco . Selected Publications: "The Second Day" in Shattered, Ed. Jennifer Armstrong (2002); "Marked for Destruction", in Why Do They Hate Me: Young Lives Caught in War & Conflict, Ed. L. Holliday (1999); "Beating a Bully", in 25 Read-Aloud Stories For Teaching Powerful Writing (2001); "The Home Within", reprint, in The Flag of Childhood, Ed. Naomi Shihab-Nye (2002). Co-presented with the Loft Literary Center and Dunn Bros. Coffee.