On Sunday 3 November the Italian Cultural Institute in Cairo will inaugurate the first round of the international festival for poetry, called Kalam le-l Shabab (Words of Youth). The festival is the culmination of a project of the same name that is funded by the institute and the European Union and took place throughout the past year. The project supplied young people in Egypt with workshops on poetry, targeting those between the ages of 16 and 25.
The festival features ten international and 50 Egyptian poets including Hassan Taleb and Ahmed Abdel Muty Hegazy. The opening ceremony is held at the Italian Cultural Institute’s theatre at 7pm. The ceremony features the works of the talented young Egyptians who took part in the poetry workshops held earlier this year.
Part of the festival is a series of lectures and meetings with international poets. On the first day, poetry enthusiasts will be able to meet with Valter Hugo Mae and Tibor Zalam at Alsun Faculty in Ain Shams University at 10am and the institute hosts Italian poet Dante Marianacci on the same day at 11am.
The second day of the festival includes a Collective Writing workshop supervised by theatre director Salam Yousry, and at night a screening of poetry performances along with the music of Ayman Sidki.
On 5 November the festival relocates to Islamic Cairo, where young participants of the project present readings of their work. Also planned for this day is a Creative Writing workshop in Arabic given by Hassan Talen in the beautifully renovated Beit El Sh’er (House of Poetry). At night attendees can enjoy poetry readings, accompanied by the music of Tamer Faruk, at Wekalet Al-Ghoury.
The night of 6 November is entirely dedicated to the work of Persian poet Rumi at Sama Khana. Actor Kahled Saleh will recite Rumi’s work, accompanied by Nour Nageh’s sufi chants. The night also features the poetry of Lebanese poet Bassima Batouli and Palestinian poet Marwan Makhoul.
The festival ends Thursday 7 November at Darb1718 with an open discussion that features many writers and poets and a concert by Shaware3na and Yousra El Hawary at 7pm.
More information can be found on the festival’s website kalamproject.org. All events are free of admission and open to everyone.