Fri 27 Apr 2018 | €6/5
Fri 27 Apr 2018 | €6/5

Diana Darke and Dušan Šarotar

A Syrian specialist and middle east cultural expert, Diana Darke’s My House in Damascus, details her love affair with Syria, a relationship that goes so deep that she bought a house in the Old city in 2005. In this book, published by The Oxford University press, Diana Darke uses the true story of Abu Chaker, a cloth merchant who began his career in Syria before expanding into Lebanon and later the United Kingdom, as an entry point to discuss Syria and how it developed as a country. Abu Chaker was born in 1921, as the Ottoman Empire was on its way out. He died in 2013, during the Syrian civil war, after he left his home city of Homs.

Diana Darke is an author, Middle East cultural expert, Arabist, BBC broadcaster and journalist. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph and Al Araby. She graduated from Wadham College, Oxford, in 1977, where she studied German and Philosophy/Arabic, then went on to work for the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and Racal Electronics Plc as an Arabic consultant. In 2005, Diana purchased a 17th-century courtyard house in the Old City of Damascus,[14] which enabled her to become deeply embedded in Syrian society and culture. Diana has returned six times since the Rebellion began in March 2011 and her links inside the country are deep and ongoing. The house is currently lived in by Syrian refugee friends displaced from their own homes.

Nominated for the Dublin Literary Award 2018 for Panorama, Slovenian writer Dušan Šarotar takes the reader on a deeply reflective journey from northern to southern Europe – by way of Ireland – deftly blending fiction, history and journalism as he and a group of travellers relatein their distinctive and memorable voices their unique stories and common quest for somewhere they might call home. The writer supplements his narrative with photographs, which help blur the lines between fiction and journalism. Panorama is a title in the World Series by Peter Owen Publishers in association with Istros Books, bringing some of the best contemporary writing from Slovenia to English-speaking readers. It has been translated by Rawley Grau.

Dušan Šarotar is a writer, poet, screenwriter and photographer. He has published five novels, two collections of short stories and three poetry collections. He is also author of fifteen screenplays for documentary and feature films. Šarotar has also had several photographic exhibitions in national galleries in Slovenia and abroad. Photographies from his series ‘Souls’ was included in the permanent collection in Art gallerie of Prekmurje.

Both writers will give short readings from their work and will participate in a conversation with writer and critic, Eileen Battersby.

Cork World Book Fest 2018

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