PalFest: Phase Two


At its beginning, in 2008, PalFest had at its centre the idea of the Writer as Witness. PalFest ran for 10 years, during which we worked with over 200 international and Palestinian writers. After the festival the visiting authors would return home and write and speak about what they had seen.

In those ten years the world changed. With the rise of social media everybody could become a witness with a few clicks. And yet that act of mass-witnessing has done nothing to temper Israel’s violence.

So we return now, after a one-year break, with PalFest 2019 and a sharpened focus on how to foster new writing that clarifies and frames the connections between the colonization of Palestine and the accelerating systems of control and dispossession around the world.

For the first time, PalFest will be organised around themes. The theme for PalFest 2019 is:  Urban Futures: Colonial Space Today

Together with architect and editor, Mahdi Sabbagh, PalFest assembles a cutting-edge line-up of writers, urbanists, architects and academics whose uniquely positions them to consider the strategies and techniques employed by Israel in the control and conquest of Palestinian space.

PalFest is now offering writers a two-year invitation; for those whose experience in Palestine catalyses new work or new collaborations that can then be presented at subsequent festivals.

Palestine is not a distant and unique injustice – it is a battleground at the centre of the global struggle between the forces of control and those of liberation, a struggle whose parallels, connections and ramifications are global. From police training to algorithm design to drone warfare, the technology of dispossession has buyers and imitators around the world.

The culture of power is flexing its muscles everywhere. So we must find new depths of power in culture.