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Writing in Tongues: Notes about displacement

May 05, 20237:00 p.m.
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). 7:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.
In English with simultaneous translation into Spanish.

On Friday, May 5, writer Lina Meruane will be giving this conference as part of the Sixth International Teaching Congress of the European Association of Creative Writing Programs (EACWP).

Lina Meruane, a Chilean writer and teacher of Palestinian origin, will reflect on the challenges of narrating successive journeys through the Arab world, in her native language of Spanish. During her presentation, the writer will be discussing the loss and recovery of Arabic among the diaspora, the limits of interaction and writing between foreign languages -including Spanish, German, Greek, French and Arabic- that resort by default to the language of diplomacy and war: English. What is lost and what is regained by “writing in tongues”? How do we handle the awkwardness of the unintelligible, opaque and untranslatable? How can we turn these limitations into an opportunity for creativity?

Her presentation will be the guest conference at the Sixth International Teaching Congress of the European Association of Creative Writing Programs (EACWP), to be held at Casa Árabe’s headquarters in Madrid as part of the twentieth anniversary of the School of Writers, from Thursday, May 4 through Saturday, May 6, 2023.

The congress is a biannual event intended to foster and promote European and international dialogue on the different approaches to teaching, research and learning about creative writing. The main interest will revolve around the acknowledgment and importance of creativity, as well as its development and empowerment, through the practice of creative writing, one of the fields of teaching in which this conference speaker has also specialized.

Thanks to Casa Árabe’s cooperation, the congress will include features of Arabic writing and literature for the first time ever. Lina Meruane’s intervention will be one of Casa Árabe’s contributions in achieving this goal, along with the participation of several teachers from the Arabic Language Center, who will be presenting a paper at the congress on how to apply creative writing techniques to the teaching of Arabic as a foreign language.

Lina Meruane
A Chilean writer and educator of Palestinian origin, Lina Meruane has been a professor at New York University since 2011, currently teaching at its Madrid campus. Her fictional works include the stories brought together in Las Infantas and Avidez, and five novels (Póstuma, Cercada, Fruta podrida, Sangre en el ojo and Sistema nervioso), which have been translated into twelve languages. Her non-fiction books include the essays Viajes virales (Viral Journeys) and Zona ciega (Blind Spot), as well as the personal  essay Palestina en pedazos (Palestine in Pieces, an expanded version of her prior work Volverse Palestina (Becoming Palestine), which will be presented at Casa Árabe in Madrid on May 31, the lyrical essay Palestina por ejemplo (Palestine, for Instance), and the diatribe Contra los hijos (Against Children). She has received awards including the Blue Metropolis (Canada, 2023), Cálamo (Spain, 2016), Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (Mexico, 2012), Anna Seghers (Germany, 2011) and writing grants from the Guggenheim Foundation (USA, 2004), the NEA (USA, 2010), the DAAD (Germany, 2017), and Casa Cien Años de Soledad (Mexico, 2021), as well as others.

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Writing in Tongues: Notes about displacement
Lina Meruane (Photo: Isabel Wageman).