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Local Book Notes: Exile On Fullerton Avenue

1. Embracing Forbidden Voices: Exiled Authors in Chicago.

"The Guild Literary Complex's commitment to spotlighting divergent voices extends beyond the borders of Chicago in Voices of Protest," the GLC has announced.

"On April 25 and 26, the Guild brings Manal Al-Sheikh (Iraq) and Mazen Maarouf (Palestine) - two authors exiled from their home countries and now living in Scandinavia - to participate in conversations, film screenings, and readings with a focus on human rights, freedom of speech, and the ways literature celebrates life and inspires social change.

"As part of this program, two short documentary films on Al-Sheikh and Maarouf will be screened. The segments are part of Poets of Protest, an Al Jazeera-produced series by British filmmaker Roxana Vilk. The series focuses on six Middle Eastern authors and the relationship of their work to initiatives for democracy and social justice across the Middle East. Screenings will be followed by readings from Al-Sheikh and Maarouf."

"This series showcases contemporary Middle Eastern poetry while calling attention to Free Speech issues and the plight of threatened authors everywhere," says Guild Complex director John Rich. "Writers often face dangers, even exile, for using their storytelling gifts to bear witness and inspire social transformation. That remains the power of story, a power to be protected, and we are honored to host Manal and Mazen in Chicago for poetry and conversation."

"As a supplement to this exciting series, Helge Lunde - executive director of the International Cities of Refuge Network - will be giving a lecture to discuss the significant work his organization performs to aid writers facing political threats and persecution.

"Both Manal Al-Sheikh and Mazen Maarouf benefited from the services of ICORN.

"As part of his address, Mr. Lunde will invite Chicago to become an International City of Refuge."

Event Details:
* Screening, segments from Poets of Protest
* Readings to follow
* Friday, April 25, 7 p.m.
* Facets Multi-Media, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.
* $5 tickets


* Screening, segments from Poets of Protest
* Readings to follow
* Saturday, April 26, 8 p.m.
Facets Multi-Media, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.
* $5 tickets


* Lecture, Helge Lunde of International Cities of Refuge Network
* Details to be released


"The Iraqi poet and writer Manal Al-Sheikh was born in Nineveh in northern Iraq. She has a Bachelor's degree in English-Arabic translation from the College of Arts, Mosul University. She has worked in local and Arab press as a freelance journalist. She has published creative and literary articles and texts in many Iraqi, Arab, and European newspapers and magazines, and participated in many cultural festivals within and outside the her native country. Many of her poems and essays have been translated into several languages including: English, French, Norwegian, Catalan and Italian. She currently resides in the city of Stavanger, Norway.

"Mazen Maarouf is a Palestinian-Icelandic poet and writer, lauded as a 'rising international literary star.' He has published three collections of poetry: The Camera Doesn't Capture Birds, Our Grief Resembles Bread, and most recently An Angel Suspended On The Clothesline, which has been translated into several languages including French by Samira Negrouche. His work is currently being translated into English by Kareem James Abu-Zeid and Nathalie Handal. Maarouf has read in festivals, universities, museums and cultural centers in Europe, the United States and the Middle East. He has written literary and theatre criticism in various Arabic magazines and newspapers namely An-Nahar and Assafir (Lebanon), Al-Quds-el-Arabi (London) and Qantara (Paris); and he has translated numerous Icelandic poets as well as the following novels in Arabic: The Blue Fox by Sjon, Hands of my Father by Myron Uhlberg, The Story of the Blue Planet by Andri Snaer Magnason and Dwarfstone by Aoalsteinn Asberg. He resides in Reykjavik."


2. Chicago Voices.

From the Society of Midland Authors:

* Tuesday, April 8
* 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. panel discussion
* The Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor

"Dan 'Sully' Sullivan has appeared on HBO's Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, on National Public Radio and at the Green Mill Uptown Poetry Slam.

"He was the Chicago Mental Graffiti Poetry Slam Champion for 2003, 2004 and 2005 and a recipient of the 2003 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Poetry Award.

"Sully is a member of the Speak'Easy Ensemble directed by Marc 'So What!' Smith and makes up one half of the duo Death From Below.

"He is co-founder and sponsor of the Oak Park and River Forest High School's Spoken Word Club.

"He recently released a poetry album and chapbook, Because We Can't Fight the Bulldozer Alone. To find out more about Sullivan, see


"J.W. Basilo is a writer, performer, humorist, musician and educator from Chicago whose work is equal parts poignant and perverse, hilarious and heart-wrenching.

"Basilo is a National and World Poetry Slam finalist, a PushCart Prize Nominee, one half of poetry-comedy duo Beard Fight (with Dan Sully), and an artist-in-residence at Real Talk Avenue.

"His work has appeared on NPR, CBS and WGN, and in the Chicago Tribune, numerous literary journals and hundreds of theaters, dive bars, prisons, schools and comedy clubs.

"Basilo was recently named executive director of Chicago Slam Works, and is the co-host of the Uptown Poetry Slam at the Green Mill.

"To find out more about Basilo, see"


3. Roosevelt Alumna In Northwestern Author's Movie.

"Roosevelt University theatre alumna Amy Newbold is a co-star and the only Chicagoan cast in a principal role in the new futuristic film Divergent, which was shot in Chicago and which opened March 21 at theaters throughout the region," the university says."

"Newbold plays Molly, a tall and very physical bully whose main role in the new hit film is to fight and be an obstacle to the movie's lead female character Tris, played by Shailene Woodley."

Newbold at the Chicago premiere.

"A 2008 graduate of Roosevelt's Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre program and a resident of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, Newbold, 27, credits a field experience she did as a Roosevelt student with Claire Simon Casting in Chicago in 2008 with initially putting her on the path that would lead to the major movie role - her first."

Newbold has also appeared in Boss and Chicago Fire, and worked in casting for Chicago Code.


Comments welcome.


Posted on April 4, 2014

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