The Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) was established in 2008 with the aim of showcasing and supporting cultural life in Palestine, breaking the cultural siege imposed on Palestinians by the Israeli military occupation, and strengthening cultural links between Palestine and the rest of the world.
Over the past ten years, PalFest has hosted some 200 authors and industry professionals from around the world. PalFest is a traveling festival. Because Palestinians’ freedom of movement is restricted by the Israeli occupation, the festival crosses military checkpoints to reach its audiences. By day, the international participants meet with artists, authors and activists and take part in politico-historical tours that bring them face to face with the physical realities of life under occupation. By night, they take the stage alongside their Palestinian counterparts for a series of readings, performances, discussions and music. All events are free and open to the public.
We partner with dozens of Palestinian organizations – cultural and educational – to produce an immersive, collaborative festival. We work to reaffirm, in the words of Edward Said, ‘the power of culture over the culture of power.’
A lot has changed in ten years. The contours of the narrative battle being fought over Palestine are constantly evolving. Which is why we decided to take this moment, after a decade of work, to evaluate ourselves, our abilities and our aspirations. And to think about what kind of festival is needed to engage with the coming decade.
So we are taking a fallow year for 2018 – and hope to be back in 2019 with a new and reinvigorated festival.