The 2017 edition of Writer To Writer can count on the support of the Fondation Michalski, which funds the event in its entirety.
The two authors that have been invited to attend are Canadian novelist Kim Echlin and Syrian poet Rasha Omran.
Kim Echlin is already known to the Italian public through her novels The Disappeared and Under the Visible Life, both published by Einaudi. Kim is also a documentary maker and journalist. Her most recent work deals with the international subjects of war, women, and justice. At present she is focusing on crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. In addition, Kim is editing a collection of Rasha Omran’s poetry for English language readers.
Rasha Omran is one of Syria’s most distinguished contemporary poets. Born in Tartous in 1964, she is the author of four books of poetry and many articles on the political situation in the Middle East. Political activist and a prominent anti-Assad dissident, until the outbreak of the civil war Rasha was the director of the Al-Sindyan cultural festival. At present she lives in exile in Cairo, where she works as a journalist and continues to play an active political role.
In Montepulciano Kim and Rasha will work together on the English translation of some of Rasha’s poetry. They will co-author the introduction to the book in the form of an interview, highlighting not only the poetic and literary aspects of Rasha’s work, but also her political activity in Egypt, and the impact that being an exile has had on her writing.
In the context of the 42nd edition of the "Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte", on July 17 at 9.15 pm we are pleased to host in the garden of Palazzo Bracci in Montepulciano the poetry recital Defy Silence: Poetry, Music and Translation in War and Exile, with the participation of Syrian poet Rasha Omran and of Canadian writer Kim Echlin. In the first part of the evening, some of Rasha's poems will be read in Arabic, English, and Italian to give the public the opportunity to appreciate the different musicalities of the three languages. In the second part, Kim Echlin, editor of the English version of Rasha's poetry, will interview Rasha on her status as a poet in exile and, more generally, on writing and political activity. The compositions by Ashti Abdo will accompany the evening, with typical instruments such as the saz, the sansula, the tembûr and the marranzanu.
The Writer to Writer project is the first residency organised by us, with the help and support of the FONDATION JAN MICHALSKI POUR L’ÉCRITURE ET LA LITTÉRATURE. Our aim is to bring together two writers who, regardless of their different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, share a common literary project.
We are offering hospitality for a week to two authors from any country, who are interested in a small-scale international exchange programme (we are none too keen on crowds or on stuffy official events) and are able to express themselves in English and/or French, even though we know from experience that in such cases one ends up with a jumble of languages — something we absolutely love! We hope, above all, to be able to recreate the friendly and relaxed atmosphere from which our project has originated: we look forward to taking care of our guests, freeing them from the daily chores that sometimes interfere with writing. But we also propose to look after them in a very direct and individual manner: if desired, when they are not writing, they can be shown around the stunning countryside and the nearby art cities, where unconventional enjoyment may be found, away from the beaten track. We are fortunate in that the region around Montepulciano offers plenty of opportunities, with heritage cities and scenery among the most beautiful in Tuscany and indeed in Italy. We have a car and we will drive you to the places we know and love.
You will be staying in one of two compact but comfortable suites, with private bathroom, a desk and wi-fi connection for your work. Naturally you may choose to work on the terrace and in the other communal areas, to suit your needs and mood. On the spacious terrace, which overlooks the Valdichiana, Lake Trasimeno and the beautiful Italianate terraced garden, you will also be able to relax and sunbathe. There is no set time for breakfast and lunch: we know that writers have very individual needs and habits when they are working, and we seek to respect those. In the morning you will always find fruit, fresh bread, jams, honey and ricotta — a mild soft white cheese made from sheep’s milk; for lunch you may choose to eat in one of the many restaurants and family-run trattorie in the town centre, or rustle up something for yourself in the kitchen.
The evening will be the time for conviviality. Much of it will be spent around the table, chatting over a typically Italian supper in the kitchen or on the terrace, depending on the weather, but always accompanied by the excellent local Montepulciano wine.
Although our offer of hospitality is centred on stillness, silence, me-time and personal space, we would also like to offer you the chance to interact occasionally with the people of Montepulciano and beyond. Indeed, between late spring and early autumn, the region hosts a number of art, musical and literary events. With this in mind, we will arrange the occasional event, either at Palazzo Bracci or in public venues such as libraries, bookshops or schools, when you will have the chance to talk about your work and meet local writers and artists. These meetings between you and your host community will be a mutual gift during your stay in Montepulciano.
Before welcoming them, we would like to get to know our guests a little. In addition to a standard CV, please send us an informal letter telling us about yourself and your work, your current projects and what you hope to achieve during your stay at Palazzo Bracci.
We will be asking our guests to leave us a small literary present: a journal, a piece of poetry, a short story, a letter... anything creative inspired by this place.
Via di Voltaia nel Corso, 53
53045 Montepulciano (SI)